Both the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings have an uncertain future at the quarterback position, both in the short term and the long term. While Kirk Cousins seems firmly entrenched as the Vikings’ starter for now, he is set to turn 35 in August and is entering the final year of his contract.
In San Francisco, they have a trio of potential starters, with last year’s rookie sensation Brock Purdy potentially in the driver’s seat, provided his elbow surgery has him ready to begin the year. Otherwise, Trey Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, who will still be just 23 this season, could just as easily be the future at the position. Since the organization traded three first-round selections for Lance, he’ll likely be given every chance to succeed.
Then there’s still soon-to-be 26-year-old Sam Darnold, the third overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, who has never been placed in as strong of an environment as the 49ers currently have.
But Darnold was just added in free agency, and before the team made that signing, there was reportedly some talk of the 49ers going after another established veteran starter instead. That being a familiar face to head coach Kyle Shanahan with Kirk Cousins, whom he coached in Washington from 2012-13.
While the 49ers have frequently been linked to Cousins before, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the two nearly connected again this offseason.
“Apparently at the Scouting Combine there was some chatter, there was some noise among people within the broader league structure, not media, but people in the league, about Cousins being traded to the 49ers.”Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on the San Francisco 49ers rekindling trade discussions for Kirk Cousins
While that was back in late February to early March, as mentioned, we’ve since seen the 49ers add Darnold to the roster, giving them three quarterbacks capable of stepping in at a moment’s notice.
As for the Vikings? They don’t have another option on the roster, with backup Nick Mullens being perfect for his current role and nothing more.
Unless the 49ers plan to make Lance, who’s a Minnesota native, available, it’s hard to see these two teams re-igniting trade talks this late in the offseason. Especially considering Cousins would leave the Vikings with a dead cap charge of $38.7 million if traded this offseason.
This move doesn’t seem feasible for the Vikings, who have the fewest cap space in the NFL, barring a contract extension with his new team. It’s also worth noting Cousins has a full no-trade clause, which allows him to approve or deny a trade if he wishes.
Yet, if the 49ers came calling, there’s a strong chance he’d take the opportunity to join his former coach and a team seemingly built to compete for a Super Bowl immediately.