It wasn't long after the Vikings home playoff loss to the Giants in January when General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was asked if quarterback Kirk Cousins would be in a Minnesota uniform in 2023.
"It's our expectation that he'll be our quarterback, but I can't say exactly how that would look," Adofo-Mensah said. "We have everything at our disposal, and we'll consider those things just like we will with everyone else on the roster."
In the coming weeks, Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings will make those final decisions regarding the futures of several key players, including Cousins.
On Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Adofo-Mensah lauded Cousins' performance during the 2022 season, adding he "meets that threshold" of helping a team win in the NFL.
"He's one of the best pure throwers in the league. I don't know that I'll be around another one as good as him," Adofo-Mensah told Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager. "[He] stepped up in big moments, critically, when we needed it. Made a lot of plays."
View the best photos of Vikings quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens during the 2022-23 season.
Cousins is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2023 season, and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said this week at the combine the Vikings have a few options when it comes to the quarterback's current situation.
"You could reach a long-term extension with Kirk. I know that Kirk's goals, as he said many times, are bringing [a] Super Bowl to Minnesota. There's also the possibility you could do a shorter-term extension," Pelissero told Vikings Entertainment Network's Tatum Everett. "I don't think that another one-year deal like they did a year ago really makes sense at this stage [though]. The other option is he plays it out, and then you're in a situation where you potentially have a reboot at the position in 2024 because a third franchise tag would be an astronomical price.
"There's absolutely some decisions that need to be made here. I know Kwesi's always going to be looking at every option, including at the quarterback position here," Pelissero continued. "You're looking at future draft classes, you're looking at your alternatives here. What I do know is the Vikings won 13 games with Kirk as their quarterback in 2022. Kwesi said [in his podium session] that he's above the line in terms of, 'Can you win with him?' It's a matter of, 'At what level do you want to commit to him? How long do you envision him being around?' If it's not a long-term type of a situation, then potentially this is one where he's going to play it out."
Pelissero was one of several media experts who weighed in this week with Everett and VEN's Gabe Henderson about Cousins and the Vikings future at quarterback.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL Network told Everett, "It just seems like everyone's playing quarterback shuffle," within the current free agency market. Frelund's colleague, Daniel Jeremiah, also told Everett Minnesota can be a little patient in its search of finding a future player at the position, especially in this year's draft.
"I think, obviously, Kirk's played well, and he is that guy for right now," Jeremiah said. "I think you're in a position where you don't have to chase [getting a quarterback]. But if for some reason an opportunity presented itself where a player got to you or — within reasonable striking distance — you love a young player, yeah, I don't think that would be a bad move at all to try to get that next guy, that guy of the future. But there are teams in this draft, and we all kind of know who they are, who have to get a quarterback [now]. They must figure it out, pay whatever it costs, go get it done. The Vikings can just sit back and be patient."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport told Henderson he "could see another short-term extension" happening.
"He's done several of them. Obviously his agent, Mike McCartney, and the Vikings have worked together on several deals," Rapoport said. "I would expect they're able to do it again. He is not someone who's taken a really, truly long-term deal. He's very comfortable betting on himself. I wouldn't be surprised if he does that again."
If the Vikings were to make a move for a quarterback in the 2023 draft, Jordan Reid of ESPN told Henderson Minnesota could wait until the later rounds before selecting one.
"I think they could look to take [a quarterback] on Day 2 or Day 3," Reid said. "Some that are my favorite [include] Dorian Thompson-Robinson from UCLA, he's one that I like, and Jake Haener from Fresno State. Just some guys that if Kirk does miss some time or something like that … you need to be able to have somebody behind him that they can trust."