The theory of Cosserat rods provides a self consistent framework for modeling large spatial deformations of slender flexible structures at small local strains. Discrete Cosserat rod models based on geometric finite differences preserve essential properties of the continuum theory. The present work investigates kinetic aspects of discrete quaternionic Cosserat rods defined on a staggered grid within the framework of Lagrangian mechanics. Assuming hyperelastic constitutive behaviour, the Euler–Lagrange equations of the model are shown to be equivalent to the (semi)discrete balance equations of forces, moments and inertial terms obtained from a direct discretization of the continuous balance equations via spatial finite differences along the centerline curve. Therefore, equilibrium configurations obtained by energy minimization correspond to solutions of the quasi-static balance equations. We illustrate this approach by two academic examples (Euler’s Elastica and Kirchhoff’s helix) and highlight its utility for practical applications with a use case from automotive industry (analysis of the layout of cooling hoses in the engine compartment of a passenger car).