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Kevin O'Connell: Kirk Cousins has 'earned the right to be a free agent'

Vikings coach was asked about veteran QB at NFL Combine.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said Kirk Cousins is a “process guy” and has “earned the right to be a free agent,” potentially indicating a deal to keep the veteran quarterback in Minnesota won’t happen before Cousins hits the open market.

Rich Eisen asked O’Connell on NFL Network at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis where things stand in his conversations with Cousins, and O'Connell appeared to indicate that Cousins will go through the free agency process.

“I know (Cousins), where he’s at in this whole process. He’s earned the right to be a free agent and he’s played really good football,” O’Connell said. “… I know (Cousins is) going to go through a full process. He’s a process guy. And hopefully we continue to be a strong part in that process and we figure out a way to keep him a Minnesota Viking, but my expectation is we’re not going to be the only ones that would like Kirk Cousins to be the quarterback of our team in 2024.”

Kirk Cousins

Cousins, 35, was in the midst of a career-best season before suffering a torn Achilles tendon that ended his year after eight games. Cousins completed 69.5% of his passes, throwing for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns and just five picks during that time.

Since then, there have been questions about his future in Minnesota. Cousins is due to be a free agent in less than two weeks, and the Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and others have surfaced as teams potentially interested in the veteran quarterback.

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported in her column Saturday that she’s “keeping an eye on the Falcons” as a team to make a push for Cousins. She wrote the Falcons believe Cousins is the type of quarterback that would push them from a fringe playoff team to a contender. Other teams likely have similar feelings.

The Vikings are a -250 favorite to sign Cousins as of March 1, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Falcons are right behind at +330. Also in the mix are the New England Patriots (+800), Pittsburgh Steelers (+1000), Raiders (+1000) and Denver Broncos (+1500).