Despite backing Kirk Cousins at every turn so far in his Vikings tenure, the new head coach made a jarring comment on a radio appearance Wednesday.
Cousins is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season. That alone is enough for him to be mentioned in trade talks, as there hasn’t been much chatter around Minneapolis of a potential extension.
In hiring Cousins’ former quarterback coach from his Washington days, Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings were essentially extending an olive branch to their quarterback. Yet, O’Connell might not be as satisfied with Cousins as starting signal-caller as we originally thought.
In an appearance on the Chad Hartman show, O’Connell was asked again about Cousins future, and whether it was a virtual lock he would be on the roster come training camp. O’Connell couldn’t commit to that.
“Training camp is a long way in my mind from a standpoint of what any position may look like,” O’Connell replied. Yikes.
Vikings: Will new regime keep Kirk Cousins?
It’s important to consider O’Connell’s full quote here, and the complete context. He did go on to compliment Cousins, but O’Connell simply could stated “of course,” or something of the sort. Instead, he wouldn’t commit.
“I love Kirk Cousins, I do. I think he’s clearly shown in this league the skillset, the intangibles at the quarterback position to play at a high level,” O’Connell continued.
That sounds a bit better, but O’Connell still covered his tracks with his initial comments so he’s not seen as misleading by Cousins. He knows anything can happen this offseason, and should Cousins suddenly become available he may fetch a first-round pick.
Cousins made his third Pro Bowl this season, if you can believe it, and had one of his best campaigns yet. The negative press consistently around him likely has more to do with his fully-guaranteed contract than anything else. That and he’s in the same division as Aaron Rodgers, which doesn’t help matters.
The Michigan State product is a valuable asset at this point in his career. Sure, it’s easy to poke holes in his game, but he’s the best quarterback the Vikings can hope for at this juncture assuming they don’t trade for Russell Wilson, or Aaron Rodgers (laughs).