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4 routes the Vikings could take to finding their QB in 2024

The Vikings face an uncertain future at QB with Kirk Cousins out of contract

The biggest question of the Vikings offseason is, without a doubt, what they will do at quarterback. There are four routes they can go and all of them are interesting.

Minnesota is in this situation after not extending Kirk Cousins' contract last offseason, for better or worse. Cousins now has the option of entering free agency for the first time since 2018, and this time there are more suitors (Minnesota, Atlanta, Las Vegas, New England, Pittsburgh, others) than there were back then.

So what should the Vikings do? Let's look through the options...

Bring back Kirk Cousins

When the season began this seemed like the least likely option. Now, after watching nine weeks of mostly poor QB play, a growing portion of the fanbase is clamoring to bring Cousins back. That will come with a significant cost though.

With the amount of teams vying for competent QB play, Cousins' agent is, once again, in prime position to land a big contract for his client. The Vikings, already up against the cap, still have to sign all-world receiver Justin Jefferson and decide if they want to bring back pass rusher Danielle Hunter. They also have to pay left tackle Christian Darrisaw if they want him sticking around for the long haul. 

If Cousins takes a 'hometown discount,' like he was asked about Monday, the odds of Cousins returning would seem to rise. Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah stated Wednesday that he wants Kirk "the player" back but it "ultimately always comes down to can you find an agreement that works for both sides."

This option severely limits what the Vikings can do in adding free agent pieces, especially on the defensive side of the ball. 

Free-agent QB

The next option is the Vikings returning to how they built their roster in 90s. Stack up everywhere else then take a swing on a free-agent QB. It's not the most desirable route but it allows the Vikings to reload on defense and still pay some of their young talent, like Jefferson and Darrisaw.

Minnesota nearly made the playoffs with nine weeks of below average to poor QB play from Josh Dobbs, Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens. If they get even he slightest improvement of play from that position while loading up on defensive talent, that's a decent enough path towards competing.

The list of free-agent QBs this offseason offers some intriguing names that either made the playoffs with their current team or very nearly made the postseason:

  • Baker Mayfield
  • Gardner Minshew
  • Joe Flacco
  • Ryan Tannehill


The seemingly fan favorite idea is for the Vikings to draft their next quarterback from a highly touted QB class. Landing the No. 11 pick made this reality easier.

Minnesota can either sit still at 11 and take whoever drops or use draft capital to move up into the top five to take one of the higher-end QB prospects. The Vikings losing their last four games and moving from a potential pick in the 20s up to No. 11 made a trade up significantly less expensive but with the top three teams all having good arguments for drafting a QB it's going to take a haul to get one of them to move out of a prime position. Can the Vikings trade with the Chargers for the No. 5 pick and still get their desired QB?


Then there's the option of combining two of the options. Minnesota could draft their quarterback of the future and let them sit for a year or two behind either Cousins or a free agent 'bridge' quarterback. This is a well worn path in the NFL.

The Colts initially planned on doing this by signing Gardner Minshew in free agency then selecting Anthony Richardson. The rookie won the job out of camp but was injured early in the season and Minshew ended up nearly leading Indianapolis to the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith for a year before going on to becoming the best QB in the NFL. Jordan Love sat behind Aaron Rodgers for three years before finally taking over in 2023.

This path allows the rookie to sit and learn Kevin O'Connell's complicated offense before being thrust into a pressure-packed position.