Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings shocked many within the NFL community by winning 13 games in 2023 en route to their first NFC North title since 2017. The Vikings finding success wasn’t a surprise on the surface — it is how they succeeded that caused a stir.
The Vikings Stumble Out The Gate
Minnesota went an astonishing 11-0 in one-score games last season. Seemingly every 50/50 play went their way, including the biggest comeback in NFL history vs. the Jeff Saturday-led Indianapolis Colts.
Regression to the mean was bound to happen. The defense lost a couple of starters from the unit, while the offense let Dalvin Cook go, thinking Alexander Mattison could handle a bell-cow role in the backfield. Little did we know just how much the Vikings would regress.
To this point of the season, the team sits at 1-3. And as you’d have it, all three losses came by one score. An opening week 20-17 defeat at the hands of Baker Mayfield got the year off on the wrong foot. After trying to come from behind to seize victory, the Vikings yet again found themselves in the loss column in Week 2 vs. the Eagles.
Their most recent loss was perhaps the most painful of the bunch. In a game where Justin Herbert and the Chargers dominated the Minnesota defense, Kirk Cousins and Co. still had a chance at the end of the contest to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Alas, that did not happen.
Luckily for the fan base, head coach Kevin O’Connell finally put a victory on the board Sunday vs. the lowly Panthers. Granted, it was a struggle, but a win is a win at the end of the day — even if Carolina practically gifted the win to Minnesota.
Even so, the Vikings are still looking at a nearly insurmountable deficit to make up. Only six teams in NFL history have started 0-3 and went on to qualify for the postseason. Barring an unforeseen stroke of luck, it is unlikely the franchise will make its second-straight playoff appearance.
Is It Time For Minnesota To Consider A Kirk Cousins Trade?
So, what comes next?
Kirk Cousins’ contract expires after the season, and all signs point toward an amicable breakup between both sides. At 35 years of age, Cousins still has enough in the tank for a potential run elsewhere, but his timeline likely does not align with the current Vikings roster.
But with the team nearly dead in the water already, would general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah consider trading the veteran signal-caller? Would any other franchise want to send a worthwhile NFL Draft pick for the aging quarterback?
These are a couple of questions that will continue swirling until the Oct. 31 trade deadline comes and goes. Perhaps Minnesota sees three one-score losses as more of a positive than negative and tries to ride the Cousins’ wheels until they fall off. But, if a team wanted to get frisky on the trade market, a trade becomes a distinct possibility.
I wouldn’t give Kirk Cousins away for free — his value in the locker room as a veteran presence means more to a young squad than some random fifth and sixth-round selection. However, if a team gets desperate enough and offers a Day 2 pick in return, that is when the Vikings front office will have a decision to make.
The silver lining? No matter what path Minnesota chooses at quarterback, having Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson under contract will make a potential transition to a rookie signal-caller all the easier. Who knows, maybe the Vikings will trade Kirk Cousins and fully commit to a tank for Caleb Williams.