Kirk Cousins Worked Behind Scenes to Get Kevin O’Connell Hired

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn – USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of chatter in Minnesota Vikings fan and media circles recently, regarding what the team should do with Kirk Cousins and his $45 million cap hit in 2022-23. One of the options for new Vikings leadership is to trade their starting quarterback.

Such a move would leave them obligated to pay just $10 million of that money, saving them $35 million in cap space. Of course, triggering this option would signal a significant change in the course of this franchise, given the high unlikelihood it can find a QB better than Cousins as quickly as next season.

But Paul Allen (Vikings Radio Play-by-Play, KFAN) believes these trade rumors are “fruitless” to discuss. And his logic is difficult to argue against, given the ties and relationships he has throughout the Vikings organization. Those connections spread into the most important offices at TCO Performance Center, but also includes Kirk Cousins himself. The voice of the Vikings and quarterback of the Vikings have bonded during Kirk’s time in Minnesota.

Cousins worked hard to get O’Connell hired.

So on Friday, when PA talked about Kirk Cousins’ role in getting Kevin O’Connell hired as Minnesota Vikings head coach, my ears perked up. The Kirk conversation begins at the 15-minute mark of the 10AM hour. But the quote below begins at the 20:07 mark.

“Kirk put a lot of time into getting Kevin O’Connell hired and put in a lot of time behind the scenes with those who hire. Ok, so now there’s that. And O’Connell is glowing, to a certain extent, along with the new offensive coordinator [Wes Phillips], of Kirk. So, you lay those things out, right there. It would be a metaphorical 2X4 up your butt if they were to just trade him out of nowhere. ‘What’d you say here, what’d you mean here? What about that 25-minute conversation with the team president to get the guy hired?’ I mean, all of that plays into this and that’s why I think [the Kirk Cousins trade conversations] are fruitless.”

Paul Allen – KFAN

The Evidence

There’s been a heavy push by NFL insiders to let the sports world know that the Vikings plan to employ Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback when the 2022 season kicks off.

I cannot see the Minnesota Vikings organization including Kirk Cousins in their head coach hiring process, to the degree that Paul Allen describes above, just to kick him to the curb a month later. In fact, an extension feels much more likely if the above is true. And given how plugged in PA is, there’s no reason to believe it isn’t.

Allen reiterated his belief that Cousins will return as Vikings quarterback next season but did leave a caveat. Something has to happen with Kirk’s contract. So if the two sides can’t find common ground at the negotiating table, a trade becomes more possible.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan