If True, Kirk Cousins May Have a Justifiable Complaint

MLB: Texas Rangers at Atlanta Braves
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Back in mid-March, Kirk Cousins decided to leave Minnesota behind after years of saying he wanted to finish his career as a Viking. Did the franchise share a similar desire for Cousins to finish off his career in Minnesota?

A major part of the motivation to sail south was the lucrative deal from the Falcons: a four-year agreement that promises to send over $180 million. According to Albert Breer, though, there was another notable motivation. The Vikings shared with Cousins that they intended on targeting a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, which contributed to the QB1 taking his talents elsewhere.

Albert Breer, Kirk Cousins, & The Falcons’ Bold Move at No. 8

The insight arrives courtesy of Breer’s piece on Monday.

Toward the end, the NFL insider explains that he “would 100% understand if Kirk Cousins is still stinging a bit from the whole ordeal” of Michael Penix Jr. being added in the draft. The rationale: “a reason he decided to leave Minnesota is because the Vikings were very up front with the 35-year-old about the possibility that, even in the case he stayed, they’d take a quarterback of the future high in the draft. Tying that together with the team’s willingness to guarantee part, but not all, of a second year on another contract, Cousins figured that, if he stayed, there was a good shot that he’d be on the move in 2025.”

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC
Apr 20, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins during a pregame ritual before an Atlanta United match against FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Immediately thereafter, Breer explains that “Cousins appreciated how open the Vikings were about their draft strategy, even if it meant him leaving.”

One of the consistent things we hear from departing Vikings is that Minnesota is a first-rate organization that’s being run in a professional manner. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell may not be making decisions that everyone agrees with — or even ones that end up being correct all the time — but they deserve credit for conducting themselves with transparency.

A player knows where he stands while working with the GM and HC. Guys notice that kind of thing.

After the Penix pick flashed across the screen, it has been confirmed that Cousins was a bit blindsided. The NFL Network‘s Mike Garafolo shared a quote from Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, that confirmed the surprise: “Yes, it was a big surprise. We had no idea this was coming. The truth is the whole league had no idea this was coming. We got no heads up. Kirk got a call from the Falcons when they were on the clock. That was the first we heard. It never came up in any conversation.”

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake: the Falcons are planning for life after Cousins. Sinking such a valuable selection into Mr. Penix confirms as much. Should they have told their new QB1 about the plan?

Breer concludes the Cousins section with some thoughts about how the situation could proceed.

“Still, it had to be a crappy call to take if you were Cousins, considering the basis of the decision you’d made six weeks earlier,” Breer explains. “It remains to be seen, of course, if that’ll lead to any sort of early fissure in the player-team relationship there. I think they’ll be able to get past it, because head coach Raheem Morris is a phenomenal relationship guy, and Cousins is an adult. But if there are early bumps in the season, this one will be interesting to watch.”

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) prepares to snap the ball to quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

At some point in 2024, the Vikings and Falcons will play each other. If the NFL’s schedule makers want to get really bold, then there will be a Week 1 matchup, but that remains to be seen.

Keep an eye on Mr. Cousins down in Georgia. As Breer notes, this is something to monitor.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.