Shanahan Tree Coaches Keeping Close Tabs on Kirk Cousins in Hopes Vikings Keep Dragging Feet

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
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Kirk Cousins is still scheduled to become a free agent on March 13, which is now less than one month away. Whether or not he hits the open market is still TBD, just like his eventual offseason destination.

Related: Keyshawn Johnson Tries to Bash Kirk Cousins; Forgets He Didn’t Throw Minneapolis Miracle

The Vikings have always been lead contenders for Kirk’s services again next season. Others have included the New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. But the most commonly linked team, outside of Minnesota, is the Atlanta Falcons.

Kirk Cousins next team a two horse race?

Kirk’s wife is from Atlanta, they have a domed stadium and lots of weapons, not to mention they play in the worst division in football. Hands down, the Falcons appear to be the Vikings’ biggest threat to sweeping Cousins off his feet, both financially and otherwise.

On Friday, however, two very big names at Pro Football Focus and The 33rd Team, Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, went as far as to say Kirk’s choices are down to Atlanta and Minnesota, which feels a bit presumptive, given there is a month until free agency.

But if either of new Falcons head coach Raheem Morris or Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell are going to sign Cousins this offseason, then they might have to fend off the rest of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree to do it.

Mike Shanahan coaching tree loves Kirk Cousins

We don’t normally think of Raheem Morris as a Mike Shanahan disciple, since he’s a defensive-minded coach — unlike Kyle Shanahan, Mike McDaniel, Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur — but he coached on that same now-famous Washington coaching staff that was in place from 2012-2014, when Kirk Cousins was first starting his NFL career.

And now, 10+ years later, Kirk Cousins is scheduled to hit free agency and we know for sure that Morris, now leading the Falcons, would love to have #8 under center for his team yet again.

Related: Jason and Travis Kelce Love Vikings Fans and Playing at U.S. Bank Stadium

There are also reports going around San Francisco that claim Kyle Shanahan’s infatuation with Kirk is still at peak levels too. That he may be willing to bench 3rd-year QB (with multiple playoff wins already under his belt) Brock Purdy, if it meant bringing in Cousins. SI’s Conor Orr put together a list of bold predictions for this offseason and one of them landed Kirk back with Kyle Shanahan.

“Shanahan wants fast processors who don’t miss throws. His affinity for Cousins is known. If the 49ers plan on running it back, it makes sense to bolster the QB room.”

Sports Illustrated
kirk cousins minnesota vikings
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) calls a play in the huddle in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle isn’t the only head coach off his dad’s coaching tree, with a much younger franchise QB already in tow, who could have his eyes on Kirk Cousins’ situation, either. Mike Sando (The Athletic) has his antenna up on Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins, who aren’t convinced Tua Tagovailoa is “the guy” anymore.

One anonymous NFL exec agrees with Sando, that Kirk ending up in South Beach is logical, should the Vikings not get him back under contract.

McDaniel’s coaching mentor, Kyle Shanahan, has coveted Cousins. McDaniel might feel similarly. The three were together with Washington for Cousins’ first two seasons. Could Cousins be the difference for the Dolphins between securing home-field advantage or not?

“If you like Cousins and you can sign him to a three- or four-year deal and you can trade Tua for a couple of draft picks, that to me is a different type of path forward,” the first exec said. “I don’t know if it is the best one. You really have to be in that building to know, but if you are looking for alternatives, there is a pretty good one.”

The Athletic

Sean McVay’s Rams and Matt LaFleur’s Packers haven’t been linked to Cousins as much, since the offseason began. Not after Matt Stafford and Jordan Love finished out really good seasons, but as recently as November, when Stafford was dealing with a UCL injury and Jordan Love was still a question mark, guess which teams were linked to Cousins? Yup…

Stafford and the Rams also appear to be in good shape, although his UCL sprain again raises the specter of an elbow problem that clouds his future. At the very least, there will be renewed questions about whether Stafford will consider retirement next offseason. Meanwhile, the Packers will continue to get an extended look at Jordan Love, but if the current trend of mediocrity continues and Green Bay isn’t in position to draft another quarterback in April, veteran bridge options would almost certainly be on the table for 2024.

Charles Robinson – Yahoo Sports

Minnesota Vikings need to get serious with Kirk ASAP or likely lose him

Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) wrote about it today because he’s seeing the writing on the wall too. If the Minnesota Vikings want to re-sign Kirk Cousins, they need to start showing him love immediately. The more they let him shop around, the higher his price is going to go. They need to make him an offer he can’t refuse ASAP and get him back under contract.

Then, go shopping for your QB of the future accordingly. Because there are offensive geniuses around the NFL who are all licking their chops, just hoping Kirk hits free agency, some of which already have the same type of “young cheap promising QB” that many think the Vikings need to ditch Kirk in favor of.

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