Kevin O’Connell is the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. At age 36, he has an opportunity to take over a team with a lot of talented players on offense. One of those talented players is veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins. O’Connell recently sat down with NFL reporters Tom Pelissero and Andrew Siciliano during the NFL Combine and expressed his excitement about potentially working with the Pro Bowl quarterback.
The Minnesota Vikings have to make a tough decision on their starting quarterback. Cousins is set to make $45 million next season on the last year of his current deal. That is the result of backloading his contract to help the team sign more players in free agency the past few seasons. The people responsible for extending Cousins are now gone from the organization. The Vikings recently hired 41-year-old Kweisi Adofo-Mensah as their new general manager to relieve previous general manager Rick Spielman of his duties.
What did Kevin O’Connell say about Kirk Cousins?
During his sit down with NFL Reporters at the combine, O’Connell said the following of Kirk Cousins.
One of those playmakers is wide receiver Justin Jefferson who is entering his 3rd year in the NFL. Cousins and Jefferson have built a lot of chemistry together and that is something O’Connell can take to the next level.
What options do the Vikings have with Kirk Cousins?
The Vikings have several options with Kirk Cousins and they all have different pros and cons.
1. Let Cousins play out the final year on his contract.
This is the easiest option but definitely not the best. They would eat a $45 million cap hit and get nothing in return for him. That would be unfortunate after seeing players like Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford net a large return last offseason.
2. Trade Kirk Cousins for assets
This is a good route to go if the new regime is looking to hit the reset button. If they don’t think Cousins can get them where they want to go it would be a good chance to start over and acquire some assets. This would be a good way to find a quarterback of the future. The biggest concern would be hoping you can keep Justin Jefferson happy in the meantime.
3. Extend Cousins
If the new front office is truly as high on Cousins as O’Connell indicated today, this is a great option. If this is the route they go, the team will have to work some magic on the cap, nail the draft and free agency, and get more out of their players than former head coach Mike Zimmer. That may sound like a big ask, but that is exactly why you bring in a new regime to run the team.
While Kevin O’Connell does not have the final say in keeping Kirk Cousins, it seems he won’t mind if the team goes in that direction. The Vikings will be hoping he can bring some of that Super Bowl magic to a team that has not yet experienced a Super Bowl victory.