Not-so-subtle signs point to Vikings preparing for life after Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins / David Berding/GettyImages

The Kirk Cousins era with the Minnesota Vikings appears to be drawing to a close, and it is still unclear whether the front office has a legitimate plan for life after the four-time Pro Bowler once he bids farewell to the bold north.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah reportedly tried to make a big splash during the 2023 NFL Draft to move up to acquire a quarterback early in the first round. As we now know, that didn’t work.

The significance of Minnesota's general manager attempting to move up nearly 20 or so spots to land a quarterback is very telling of how management feels about the future of their quarterback position. 

Minnesota Vikings nearing the end of the Kirk Cousins era

In five seasons with Captain Kirk at the helm, the Vikings have made the playoffs only twice. Most notably this past season when Minnesota won their first NFC North title since the signing of Cousins back in 2018.

In a season filled with high expectations going into the playoffs, those expectations clearly weren’t met when they suffered a first-round exit at the hands of the New York Giants.

Cousins suffered a ton of blame for that loss when he threw a check down to tight end T.J. Hockenson on a 4th-and-8 play to end the Vikings season. However, if you go through that game, Cousins played very efficiently up until that final drive.

This may just be the story of Cousins’ career, coming up short when it matters most. This may just be exactly why Minnesota is ready to move on.

Cousins has claimed time and time again that Minnesota is home and he wants to finish his career as a Viking. However, this could all be a smoke screen from Cousins and his camp, especially if a certain team in the Bay Area of California came calling.

On the other side, Adofo-Mensah and Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell haven’t exactly been quiet about trying to find a new signal-caller to eventually succeed Cousins. From meeting with top prospects at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, to reportedly attempting to trade up for former Alabama QB Bryce Young, if he hadn't gone No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers.

This Vikings front office is doing a lackluster job of hiding their feelings for the future of their quarterback position.

The worst-kept secret in Eagan right now is that Minnesota intends to move on from Cousins sooner rather than later. Jaren Hall is a nice developmental project for O'Connell to get his hands on, but can we really see the Vikings committing to a fifth-round pick as their starter going forward? It is highly unlikely.

With the likes of USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye, and Texas' Quinn Ewers potentially declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft, Adofo-Mensah would be hard-pressed to get his hands on one of these three prospects to lead the franchise for the foreseeable future. For Adofo-Mensah and company to keep Cousins around past 2023, it seems as though it would take an MVP-like performance from the former fourth-round pick during the upcoming season.

It seems as though the 2023 season truly is a make-or-break year for Kirk Cousins, especially if he plans on staying in Minnesota.