Replacement Options for Kirk Cousins in 2021 and Beyond

Photo: Hannah Foslien – Getty Images

With the reports and rumors flying about the San Francisco 49ers possibly making a push for Kirk Cousins, it’s absolutely time to start looking at potential replacements for the Minnesota Vikings at quarterback. And lucky for them, if there is ever a year to make a change at quarterback, it’s 2021.

There are a lot of players available who could fill the new QB vacancy but some are certainly better than others.

3. Take a shot in the NFL Draft

If Kirk Cousins is traded then the Vikings will certainly get some draft capital back. It’s doubtful they’d surrender Cousins for anything less than a 1st round pick, so let’s assume they get #12 from San Francisco.

The Lions recently got two first rounders for Stafford, but that in-part because they took on the Jared Goff contract. Even if Spielman takes Garoppolo back in the trade, which would be a good idea if the QB of the future is being selected via draft, his contract isn’t seen as a negative like Goff’s. In fact, the Vikings could cut him for $2 million if they decided not to roster him at all.

If the Vikings can find their quarterback with the 12th (from SF) or 14th pick or package them together to move up, then this makes perfect sense. Justin Fields and Zach Wilson could be options if you move up. If you stay put, then Trey Lance, Kyle Trask or Mac Jones will be available to you.



Taking a rookie quarterback and pairing him with the hard nosed defensive minded Mike Zimmer could be a mistake. If the Vikings choose to draft their QB of the future, Zim might not be the head coach you keep. Eric Bieniemy is still available last time I checked, though…

2. Sign a veteran quarterback for cheap

Dipping into the free agency pool could be a cheaper option, but the Vikings would have $20M in Kirk’s dead cap to deal with, so the immediate savings would be less recognizable. This move would be for the long-term.

Here is a list of quarterbacks available in free agency that could potentially be had for cheap.

  • Jameis Winston
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Cam Newton
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Jacoby Brissett

Do any of those players interest you at all? Maybe not, but if the Vikings roll with the same run-first offensive philosophy, then these guys should be able to slide in and produce enough to help win games. Meanwhile, Spielman and Co would be back on the hunt for their future franchise QB.

1. Go Save Deshaun Watson

If the Minnesota Vikings decide to trade Kirk Cousins then why not just go get Deshaun Watson and set up your franchise for the next 10-12 years? There is very rarely a young quarterback available, that’s in Watson’s stratosphere. It’s a huge opportunity.

If the Vikings can trade Kirk Cousins to the 49ers and get at another 1st-round draft pick to dangle in front of the Texans brass… then they’d immediately become one of the favorites to land him.

Is it unrealistic to hope Watson lands in Minnesota? Maybe, but so was Brett Favre, Jared Allen and Kirk Cousins. Huge moves happen around the league and have certainly come within the Vikings franchise, so maybe Deshaun Watson is just next in line.



Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan