Kirk Cousins Can’t Outrun Hard Lesson Vikings Gave Him, Insider Reveals

Some problems you can’t outrun — that even applies to former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.

In the aftermath of the Atlanta Falcons selecting Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. eighth overall in the draft two weeks ago, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer revealed the cruel irony of Cousins’ move from Minnesota — that the Vikings told Cousins it was likely they would draft his successor whether he stayed or signed elsewhere.

“I would 100% understand if Kirk Cousins is still stinging a bit from the whole ordeal,” Breer wrote of the Penix pick. “Here’s why—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.”

Considering the prospects of a rookie quarterback behind him — even in Minnesota — Cousins, coming off an ACL tear at the age of 35, was damned no matter where he landed.

“Tying that together with the (Vikings’) 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,” Breer added.

Cousins’ agent revealed some bitter feelings about the situation in Atlanta after the first-round shakeup, saying the Falcons did not give any signs that they were considering a quarterback in the draft.

He signed a four-year, $180 million deal with $90 million guaranteed in the first two seasons — a potential harbinger that the Falcons may be looking for an out midway through the massive contract they offered Cousins.

Kirk Cousins’ Appreciated Vikings Even in the End of Days in Minnesota

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

It seemed that Cousins’ departure was years in the making after the new regime under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, upon arrival in Minnesota, opted to extend Cousins one year and push to be competitive while retooling the roster on the fly.

Long-term extension talks broke up in March 2023 when the Vikings instead restructured Cousins’ contract to create cap space for one final run at the playoffs. Cousins was playing some of the best football of his career before rupturing his Achilles in Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers.

Had Cousins stayed healthy and won a playoff game, there’s the possibility the Vikings would have reconsidered bending a bit more for the veteran quarterback.

However, all signs showed that even if that were the case, the Vikings would still have looked toward finding Cousins’ successor soon — however, there appear to be no hard feelings between the two sides.

“I know Cousins appreciated how open the Vikings were about their draft strategy, even if it meant him leaving,” Breer wrote.

Kirk Cousins is Under New Pressure With Falcons

Kirk Cousins and RGIII

Another irony in Atlanta is the fact that Cousins, once the backup to No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III, will now have a talented backup quarterback pushing him for the starting job.

The Falcons can push back — call Cousins their quarterback all season — but if Cousins and the Falcons cannot deliver early-season success, the calls for Penix will echo throughout Atlanta.

This was a situation the Vikings strived to avoid for years by creating a quarterback room that was a support system instead of creating room for competition — which is a reasonable play considering the investment the team put into Cousins for six seasons.

The Falcons will have a delicate balance to strike this season.

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