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3 reasons the Vikings must be aggressive when looking for a replacement for Kirk Cousins

It’s no surprise that quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​often dominates conversations about the Minnesota Vikings. Cousins ​​plays a position that is often either praised or criticized depending on the week, and was signed in 2018 to lead the team to a Super Bowl victory. Unfortunately, this goal has not yet been reached.

Cousins ​​showed moments of pure brilliance during his time with the Vikings. From his stellar performance in the 2020 playoff game against New Orleans to his incredible comeback against the Denver Broncos in 2019, there were many memorable moments. Combine that with his strong play throughout the 2023 season and the discussion becomes more difficult.

While there’s no denying Cousins ​​is a highly skilled quarterback, at some point teams need to prepare for the future. For the Vikings, that moment has come. Let’s break down the main reasons why the Vikings need to find his replacement with aggressiveness.

The offensive is young

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The Minnesota Vikings have a talented offensive core with rising stars Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. With quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​turning 35 in August, the Vikings will need to plan for the future and find a suitable replacement to maintain their momentum.

The importance of finding the right quarterback can’t be overstated, as evidenced by the varied approaches teams have taken over the past few years. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett to replace the retired Ben Roethlisberger, while the New Orleans Saints retired Drew Brees and hoped for a winning combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Such decisions can have a lasting impact on the future success of a team.

One team that has succeeded in doing this is the Kansas City Chiefs. They continued their winning streak by drafting Patrick Mahomes just four months after Alex Smith led them to a 13-3 record. Mahomes has since gone on to become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and guided the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances.

The story goes on

Finding a suitable replacement for Cousins ​​will be crucial for the Vikings to maintain their strong offensive base and build on future success.

Flexibility in salary cap

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During a media session at NFL League Meetings, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell emphasized the benefits of drafting a rookie quarterback. He explained that it gives teams advantages that allow them to build a competitive roster around the player.

This benefit is made possible by the Rookie Scale collective agreement, which was introduced in 2011. This allowed teams to tie a rookie quarterback to a cost-controlled four-year contract with a fifth-year option.

This approach has paid off for several NFL teams, as evidenced by the last ten Super Bowls, where nine of them have had quarterbacks on rookie deals. One example is Patrick Mahomes, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. He was in his third year on his rookie contract and had won the 2018 NFL MVP award the previous year.

Having a talented rookie quarterback with a cost-controlled deal can be a key factor in building a championship-level team.

Minnesota is the perfect landing spot

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Unless something crazy happens, Cousins ​​will take center stage for the Vikings in 2023. Owner Mark Wilf and head coach Kevin O’Connell have both said so this offseason. If Minnesota decides to proactively find their successor, they have the luxury of having this rookie quarterback sitting and learning from cousins.

The transition from college to the NFL has historically been a challenge for many quarterbacks. Getting drafted at the top of the NFL draft doesn’t guarantee success. Zach Wilson and Trey Lance are prime examples.

Any Minnesota-picked rookie quarterback can develop without the pressure to start right away. Throughout history, we’ve seen several successful quarterbacks take this path. Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Jalen Hurts all sat for at least a year before taking the starting job.

Developing young talent while still having a reliable veteran starter is a strategy that has worked well for many NFL teams. It’s been a strategy for years but has fallen by the wayside because the rookie contract is so important. Hurts is the latest example of this process working, and the Vikings could afford a newcomer the same ability to grow.


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The upcoming NFL draft presents the Vikings with an opportunity to ensure long-term success by identifying and drafting Kirk Cousins’ successor. While picking a rookie quarterback is never certain, a well-planned and executed drafting strategy can set a franchise up for the future.

Given Cousins’ age and contract situation, the Vikings will need to look to the future to remain competitive. The strategy of letting a quarterback sit for a year or two can still work. By identifying a future quarterback, the Vikings can ensure continuity and stability at the position, ultimately leading to continued success.

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Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire