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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Tyler Forness

Bill Barnwell names Kirk Cousins winner after 2023 NFL draft

The 2023 NFL draft came and went without the Minnesota Vikings taking a completely defined quarterback of the future. They did select BYU’s Jaren Hall in the fifth round, but there isn’t a clear-cut quarterback of the future.

After the Vikings passed on a quarterback early, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell named quarterback Kirk Cousins a winner coming out of the NFL draft.

Cousins is yet another one of the quarterbacks who might have been concerned about his short- and long-term future with his organization. The longtime Vikings starter is a free agent after the 2023 season, and the regime that originally signed him is no longer in the building. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added a year to his contract last offseason to create cap space. In March, though, the team did a restructure with void years only to open up space.

A trade to the 49ers didn’t make financial sense for the other side, so Cousins was always going to be on the 2023 roster. If the Vikings had traded for Trey Lance or used their first-round pick on a quarterback, though, there was a decent chance Cousins wouldn’t finish the season as the starter.

Minnesota made it through most of the weekend without adding real competition for him before eventually using a fifth-round pick on 25-year-old Jaren Hall, who doesn’t project to be an NFL starter. As a result, Cousins should be assured of starting through the entirety of the 2023 season. If he can help the Vikings stave off what is widely expected to be a decline driven by their record in one-score games regressing toward the mean, he might even be the guy in 2024 and beyond.

The last line stating “he might even be the guy in 2024 and beyond” speaks volumes here. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t close the door on an extension and Cousins made it clear that he wants to stay here after the 2023 season.

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