5 teams that could trade for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins in 2023

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) Kyle Shanahan /

San Francisco 49ers

Kirk Cousins and Kyle Shanahan have produced one of the best love stories since Jim Halpert got together with Pam Beasley in “The Office”.

When the 49ers decided to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018, general manager John Lynch (via SI’s Albert Breer) described Shanahan as “in mourning” because he believed his “master plan was to have [Cousins] come in eventually.” Shortly before Cousins signed a two-year contract extension with the Vikings in 2020, ESPN’s Diana Russini said she has “never seen somebody want a quarterback as bad as” Shanahan wanted Cousins.

These stories have spawned an annual rumor that Cousins could one day land in San Francisco, and that door cracked open again when Lynch suggested the 49ers could dive into the veteran quarterback market this offseason.

Trey Lance was selected with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but an uneven performance on the field and a broken ankle have stunted his growth. Brock Purdy led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last season but tore his UCL in the first quarter of that game and has an unknown timetable for his recovery.

Both quarterbacks have long-term potential, but Cousins would be a plug-and-play option on a team that has the NFL’s No. 1 defense and an offense loaded with weapons such as Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and George Kittle.

Ultimately, the 49ers may not have the draft capital to make a deal work. San Francisco doesn’t have a first or second-round pick in this year’s draft, and unless the Vikings are planning on tanking, it wouldn’t make sense to trade Cousins for future assets.

Thus, the NFL’s best love story that hasn’t happened will continue until the 49ers address their situation.