Getty Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks with head coach Kevin O’Connell during their game against the Green Bay Packers in October 2023.
The Minnesota Vikings will have the final say on their future with Kirk Cousins in the offseason and have been urged to avoid overpaying the veteran quarterback.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay weighed Cousins’ performance over his career against his salary and concluded: Wherever he goes in free agency in March, the team will overpay.
“The injury in Week 8 – which could sideline him for up to nine months – may give some suitors pause, but considering how many organizations desperately need a passer, it’s almost certain that Cousins will be another big get will reap,” Kay wrote.
The Bleacher Report article further noted that Cousins’ success in the regular season did not carry over to the postseason, as there was only one playoff win in three games.
“Cousins, who have amassed a whopping $232 million in career earnings, have a Spotrac valuation of $39.3 million per year,” Kay wrote. “His elite play under center during the regular season justifies that kind of money, but it will be difficult for a 36-year-old coming off a devastating injury to return to playing high-level football in his 13th NFL season .”
“With “Father Time” inevitably taking its toll soon, any major contract for Cousins could end in disaster,” Kay added.
The Vikings have priority over Kirk Cousins this season
The dilemma with signing Cousins to a new contract is that Minnesota already has to put Justin Jefferson high on its priority list next offseason.
Jefferson won’t be cheap starting next season. He will pick up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract for the 2024 season, worth $19.74 million against the cap. Jefferson is expected to receive a quarterback-like contract worth over $30 million per year. Regardless of how this contract is structured, it will be a far cry from his annual cap hit of $3.28 million over the past four seasons.
The Vikings’ offense is loaded with stars who will make significant gains. TJ Hockenson became the league’s highest-paid tight end when he signed a four-year extension worth up to $68.5 million in August. Jefferson is on pace to become the highest-paid wide receiver along with Christian Darrisaw, who should redefine the left tackle market in a few years.
Minnesota is building an offense that it can fit and play a rookie quarterback in without facing the same issues that many blue-chip prospects face when they move to one of the league’s bottom five teams.
Cousins was never the quarterback to power the offense or overcome a poor offensive line. He has benefited from the sum of his surrounding pieces, which will soon become significantly more expensive in Minnesota.
The Vikings have made their intentions known regarding their star talent elsewhere on offense and have yet to sign Cousins.
However, there’s still a chance he stays in Minnesota.
Vikings show interest in keeping Kirk Cousins — but there’s a catch
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah gave a clear answer about the expected negotiations the team faces with Cousins.
He praised Cousins for his performance in 2023 and said every option, including re-signing with the team, was still on the table for the veteran quarterback. Adofo-Mensah even went so far as to express his desire to keep Cousins.
However, Adofo-Mensah has continued to make flexibility at the quarterback position a priority, to the point that the Vikings declined to take a slight discount on the terms of a long-term extension from Cousins.
The Vikings’ terms are most likely the same terms that were on the table in negotiations last offseason. The decision to stay or go ultimately rests in Cousins’ hands.
“Kirk played great,” Adofo-Mensah said in an Oct. 31 press conference, according to the Star Tribune. “I think my desire for Kirk to come back is not just me. It’s a negotiation. You come together at the table and try to see if everything fits together, and we will have that dialogue when it does.”
Trevor Squire is a sports journalist who covers the Minnesota Vikings for Heavy.com. Trevor studied journalism at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and worked at the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @trevordsquire. More about Trevor Squire
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