May 21, 2024

It is time for the Vikings to transition away from No. 8 and overhaul the quarterback position. This decision is not solely based on Kirk Cousins’ Achilles tendon injury at 35, though his recovery from such a severe setback must be considered. The main reason is that the Vikings do not seem poised to achieve success with him.

Cousins’ absence during Week 8 exposed the shortcomings in the Vikings’ roster. The running game couldn’t compensate for the dip in passing yardage, and various issues surfaced, including an incomplete offensive line, a secondary in need of upgrades, and an inconsistent pass rush. It’s noteworthy that the Vikings began the season with a 1-4 record even with a healthy Cousins.

General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s offseason priorities already involve attempting to retain Danielle Hunter and possibly securing Justin Jefferson, one of the game’s top non-quarterbacks, with a long-term deal. Allowing Cousins’ contract to expire in March and capitalizing on a promising quarterback draft class could be the strategic move. Drafting a rookie quarterback, getting them on a rookie contract, and concentrating on bolstering the roster would be the next steps, starting with securing Hunter and Jefferson.

La Velle E. Neal III: Vikings should cut the cord on Kirk Cousins |  Football | ArcaMax Publishing

The writer suggests that a potential future Vikings quarterback might have played in the college football championship on Monday, mentioning Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy as strong candidates. With the No. 11 pick, the Vikings could have a chance at drafting a promising quarterback. The writer emphasizes the annual overdrafting of quarterbacks due to the rush by NFL teams to find a franchise player.

Reflecting on the Vikings’ 13-4 run in 2022, the writer considers it an anomaly, citing the historical nature of winning 11 one-score games, which may not be sustainable. Plugging Cousins into the 2024 equation is not seen as a guarantee of replicating the success of 2022. The writer argues that allocating $35-40 million to sign Cousins for another season or more would hinder the process of building a more talented roster.

Adofo-Mensah is seen as needing a significant offseason, especially after two underwhelming drafts and a less successful foray into free agency. The writer highlights the opportunity for Adofo-Mensah to alter perceptions of his talent evaluation skills with the highest draft pick of his tenure. The conclusion is that bringing back Cousins doesn’t align with the Vikings’ needs for sustained success. While they can make the postseason with Cousins, the team lacks the talent for a deep playoff run, and a change at quarterback is deemed necessary.

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