Will the Vikings Have a New Starting QB in 2024?
For the first time since Kirk Cousins joined the Vikings in 2018, Minnesota has uncertainty as to who their QB of the future could be. Cousins did not get a new contract extension this offseason, and instead, the Vikings pushed more of his cap hit from 2023 into future void years.
With this uncertainty at the position, could we be looking at the Vikings having a new starting QB in 2024? Let’s examine what we know and see if we can’t come to an answer.
Contract Year for Cousins, Desires Return
As previously mentioned, Cousins is entering a contract year. That’s the whole reason we’ve come to this point. However, in his first media appearance of the Vikings spring practices this year, the starter made it clear that he still wants to remain in Minnesota after this season.
Throughout the offseason, we’ve seen very large contracts get handed out to quarterbacks once again, though. The Vikings have an increased amount of salary cap space for next season, so they hypothetically could ink Cousins to a new deal next offseason. Perhaps Cousins would even give a bit of a ‘hometown discount’ to the Vikings on his next contract since he wants to stay. However, would the Vikings even be interested in such a move? That remains to be seen.
Drafted Jaren Hall, Brought Back Nick Mullens
Following the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Vikings now have three quarterbacks on their roster: Cousins, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall. Mullens was re-signed in free agency, landing a two-year deal to remain in Minnesota through 2024. Meanwhile, Hall was selected in the fifth round of the draft.
Since Hall came to an agreement on a contract, the Vikings will have two quarterbacks locked up through at least the end of 2024. Neither of them are named Kirk Cousins. Is that a coincidence? Perhaps, but it certainly seems like the Vikings may be preparing for a potential ‘bridge year’ before turning the reins over to a younger player.
Interest in Bryce Young
This week, Tom Pelissero went on The Pat McAfee Show and discussed some of the draft rumors that were swirling prior to April 27th. Largely, Pelissero dismissed many of them, saying they were “completely wrong,” including the ones involving the Vikings trading up for quarterbacks such as Will Levis, C.J. Stroud, or Anthony Richardson.
However, it seems the Vikings had interest in one of the top four QBs in this draft: Bryce Young. For much of the spring after the Panthers traded up to No. 1 overall, the consensus opinion was that they were going to take Stroud. He fits the prototype of a Frank Reich QB, and with the NFC South being wide-open, it made sense that the Panthers would go after the quarterback with the highest floor in the class.
After Young visited Carolina, though, he quickly became the favorite to go No. 1 overall. This eliminated the chance that Minnesota could have traded up to grab him, but what if the Panthers had passed on him? There’s a chance that we could be having a very different, more conclusive conversation about Cousins if that were the case.
A Potentially Loaded 2024 Draft Class
So, we know the Vikings were interested in Young this spring, and they seem to be setting up for a potential bridge in 2024. If those are both the case, could they be looking at a quarterback in next spring’s draft class? Immediate inclinations would lean towards yes, largely because if Minnesota was interested in Young, why wouldn’t they be interested in one of the more sure-thing prospects in the 2024 class?
As of now, the 2024 NFL Draft looks like it could be chock-full of top-end quarterback talent. In my own way-too-early mock draft, six quarterbacks went in the first round, including four QBs being selected in the top five.
The Vikings grabbed Dillon Gabriel in that mock draft, a prospect that has many of the same traits as Young. The big difference is that he is a southpaw, which could make things a bit funky, but he is a smaller QB with decent arm strength, great mobility, and has a silky-smooth throwing motion.
In all, it’s very difficult to project where the Vikings will be a little less than a year from now. We still have an entire season to get through, and then free agency will take place prior to the draft. That being said, if the Vikings want to go all-in on a young QB, 2024 is shaping up to be the year to do so.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.