1 offseason move from each NFC North rival that should terrify Lions fans

These offseason moves from NFC North rivals, one from each, should scare Detroit Lions' fans now-or into the future.

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Minnesota Vikings let Kirk Cousins go

Kirk Cousins has a shiny bust in the business of football Hall of Fame, with fully guaranteed money that will now cover each year of his career from 2016-2025. His new free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons may even have thrown a new wrench into the Lions' contract talks with Jared Goff, as a nice parting gift after leaving the NFC North.

But Cousins' desire to always get paid top dollar, and never take anything resembling a discount, actively impacted Minnesota's ability to allocate money elsewhere and compete at the highest level. He took something like Peyton Manning's "managing the salary cap is not my problem" angle, only without a couple Super Bowl rings and other pelts on the wall to justify it.

The Vikings always occupy the middle ground of never bad enough to get a high draft pick and take a top young quarterback prospect-they bungled a "Suck for (Andrew) Luck" campaign once upon a time-and never good enough to win a Super Bowl. The Cousins era personified that, with a 50-37-1 regular season record in his starts (.568 win percentage), one playoff win and two playoff appearances in six seasons.

The Vikings then signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal to be a likely bridge to a rookie they draft this year. And Lions fans should not look at the cap space they have in 2025, even without taking into account a big new contract extension that's coming for wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The Vikings are finally going to get younger and cheaper under center, as they get of the Cousins' contract carousel. The impact on their winning games in 2024 is uncertain, but letting Cousins go and the future flexibility his leaving gives them is a scary thought for Lions' fans.