It seems everyone in Purple Nation has had a hot take on what it meant when the Vikings didn't extend Kirk Cousins' contract beyond this season and then explored the possibility of trading up in the first round to pick Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson as Cousins' heir apparent in 2024.

On Wednesday, Cousins himself was asked to join the fray when he spoke to the local media for the first time since the end of the 2022 season.

So, Kirk, what say you?

"I think you're always looking to the future, always looking at different options," he said while back in town for the team's offseason program. "I think everybody has to do their due diligence so I'm looking forward to this year and wanting to go out there and prove it again and prove it again and play at the highest level I can. That's where my focus is."

Cousins won a career-high 13 games while tying an NFL record with eight fourth-quarter comebacks, including the greatest comeback in NFL history after trailing the Colts 33-0 at halftime. But a one-and-done postseason kept him stuck on one playoff win in five seasons as he heads toward his 35th birthday in August.

So, again, Kirk, how do you interpret the team's judgment in deciding not to tie itself to you beyond this season?

"I think in this league there never should be entitlement," he said. "You should always go play, and teams can do whatever they want to do. That's their prerogative.

"So you just go to work, do the best you can. I'm encouraged and excited because I do think I got a lot of good football ahead of me. So got to go out there and earn that. I feel positive about the future going forward."

Cousins later reminded reporters that his current situation "has kind of been a part of my story" going all the way back to when he was 18 years old and playing for Holland Christian High School in Michigan.

Cousins had interest from colleges but no scholarship offers all the way through his senior season in high school. That prompted a lot of questions from the local newspaper, the Holland Sentinel.

"That whole season I get the question from the Holland Sentinel, 'How are you handling that?' " Cousins said. "I learned you got to focus on winning football games. If you win football games and do your part and put your work in, the rest will take care of itself.

"That certainly happened for me my high school year. Then the same thing happened my senior year in college. 'What's going to happen?' Just go win football games for Michigan State and good things will happen. That certainly played out."

The pattern, as Cousins noted, has continued in the NFL.

"This is the fourth time in my career going into a season with free agency on the horizon," Cousins said. "The fourth year after my rookie contract. The two years in Washington after that and now. I say that to say it's more the norm than the exception.

"I think the exception is you have something penciled in for future years. I think most of our locker room has no idea what's coming in three or four months, let alone three or four years or next year. So I feel I'm one of the guys. We're all in this together. That's the way this league works and part of what makes this league great because everybody has an edge. Everybody is working. Everybody has something to prove. Nobody can operate with entitlement and comfort and put in less than their best. I think that's the great thing about our league."

Although Cousins isn't sure how this will play out, he said he works on "staying present" and doesn't allow himself to "go there" when asked if he envisions leaving the Vikings after this season.

And, yes, Cousins said it's still his goal to play the remainder of his career for the Vikings.

"I want to be in Minnesota," he said. "That's kind of a no-brainer. Hopefully we can earn the right to do that. I've always said that when I say I would like to be in Minnesota. That's kind of where I'm at."