Kirk Cousins Once Again Linked to 49ers

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few years, the San Francisco 49ers have bounced between multiple QBs like Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, and most recently, Brock Purdy.

While the 49ers have built a machine on the offensive side of the ball around their QBs, a major question has been what this team could accomplish with a bonafide stud at the quarterback spot. With this in mind, and his history with Kyle Shanahan, Kirk Cousins is a name that often comes up in regard to the 49ers.

With San Francisco’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl fresh in everyone’s minds, the potential of Cousins going to the 49ers is once again abuzz in the minds of some folks. Namely, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated recently put together a list of bold predictions for all 32 NFL teams, and Orr predicted that the 49ers will sign Cousins to a two-year contract.

Kirk Cousins Once Again Linked to 49ers

Kirk Cousins
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Here is Orr’s reasoning: “Kyle Shanahan was really smart these past two weeks in making one talking point clear: He felt that signing Tom Brady and stashing Brock Purdy to the side was a benefit to Purdy and an investment. Could he be able to make the same claim about Cousins who, while less successful, does carry a certain amount of gravitas? Shanahan wants fast processors who don’t miss throws. His affinity for Cousins is known. If the 49ers plan on running it back, it makes sense to bolster the QB room.”

Purdy, the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 NFL Draft, burst onto the scene midway through his rookie season and led the 49ers to an NFC Championship Game appearance in his rookie season before a UCL tear against the Eagles forced him to come out of that game. He followed up that marvelous rookie campaign by leading San Francisco to a Super Bowl in his second year.

In all, Purdy has led the 49ers to a 17-4 record in the regular season as a starter and has gone 4-2 in the playoffs. It’s certainly been a “rags to riches” story for the young QB out of Iowa State, but there have always been rumblings that Shanahan could look to find a more seasoned veteran as a starter, allowing Purdy to fully develop his game.

Prior to the Super Bowl, Shanahan said that he was “serious” about trying to lure the great Tom Brady to the Bay Area last season. Now, Cousins is a free agent, and given Shanahan has always loved Cousins going back to their days together in Washington and wanted to trade for him back in 2017, this could be a seamless opportunity to finally reunite with his former QB.

Aug 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, these Brady and Cousins desires happened before we knew exactly what Purdy would be able to do in San Francisco’s offense, but there is credence to the idea that San Francisco may need to truly solidify that QB spot in order to get back into the Super Bowl mix next season. The question is whether or not Cousins can be that player.

The Vikings have also expressed a desire to bring Cousins back in 2024, but that decision ultimately could depend on the overall price tag and contract structure (years/guaranteed money) that the QB wants.

Cousins isn’t the only Viking mentioned on Orr’s list of bold predictions, though. Justin Jefferson also finds his name on the list under Minnesota’s entry, and the writer believes that the Vikings will seriously consider trading their star receiver.

Orr defended the prognosis like this, “Facing the possibility of a wide receiver who will cost well over $30 million per season, with a percentage of guaranteed money nearing 100, the Vikings will look at a barren roster and wonder what else they can do to generate some capital. The Vikings need to add more than a handful of solid starters if they hope to compete in the near future. They also need to consider the possibility of drafting a quarterback high in the first round, and what it would cost them to move up.”

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

This is where things get a bit confusing. If the Vikings are looking to draft a high-end QB this spring, it seems like it would make the most sense to keep a star receiver like Jefferson around to make things easier on the rookie.

Especially if Cousins is no longer going to be in the picture, why exactly should the Vikings avoid paying Jefferson a large amount? Additionally, if the Vikings are eventually going to take the “rebuild” out of the “competitive rebuild” that they’ve been in under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, it doesn’t seem like trading away the team’s best player is the way to go about things.

Regardless, the upcoming months will be filled with very difficult decisions that the Vikings have to navigate.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.