Vikings Want to Retain QB Kirk Cousins Under One genuine Condition

 

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins may have played his last snap with the franchise, though that notion has proven wrong several times before.

Cousins will miss the remainder of the year with an Achilles tear. He will hit free agency next March unless the franchise extends him before that. Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported on Saturday, November 4, that while the team has yet to make a final decision, one of the prevailing sentiments throughout the organization is that Cousins should return next season and beyond.

“Though his future is unclear, conversations I’ve had with sources over the last few months suggest Minnesota will try to bring [Cousins] back and that there are many in the building who want that,” Russini wrote.

Salary Dispute Stands Between Vikings and New Deal with Kirk Cousins

The phrase “try to bring Cousins back” is a relative term and could mean several things.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could have extended Cousins on a multiyear deal in each of the previous two offseasons. He offered the QB a one-year extension in 2022 that kept Cousins under contract through this season. The two sides met throughout the spring and summer, with Cousins willing to sign a discounted deal to finish his career in Minneapolis. Minnesota declined.

Perhaps the Vikings are interested in bringing Cousins back, but only at a specific price. The quarterback’s representation clearly doesn’t agree with that price, hence the ensuing semantics battle highlighted by vague phrases like “try to bring Cousins back.”

The QB made a strong case for himself over the first eight games of the year, throwing for 2,331 yards and a league-high 18 touchdowns. But now, on the heels of a serious injury and set to play next season 36 years old, Cousins represents a considerable risk.

He will earn a total of $35 million in 2023. His two previous contracts in Minnesota totaled $66 million over two years ($33 million annually) and $84 million over three years ($28 million annually). Cousins’ number has risen with his age and absent the Achilles injury, his play argues that his market value will be at least as high in 2024 and beyond as it is this season.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins Deserves Raise from Vikings

Cousins was on track to earn his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl and the fifth of his 12-year career before the injury. At $35 million per season, Minnesota is already paying Cousins like a mediocre player at his position — that figure slotting him in at 15th in annual average salary among quarterbacks, per Over the Cap.

As such, Cousins’ representation could bill a three-year deal at $35 million per season as a discount, considering his market value is probably higher than that if he returns healthy next year. Adofo-Mensah and company aren’t likely to perceive circumstances the same way, especially right after signing tight end T.J. Hockenson to a record deal with another such agreement likely in the pipeline for wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The Vikings GM spoke with media members on November 1 following the team’s trade with the Arizona Cardinals for quarterback Josh Dobbs, during which Adofo-Mensah addressed Cousins’ future with the organization.

“When we broke off talk the first time, every option was still available to Kirk. Coming back was one of the really good options we had, so him playing this well the last four games … we expected in Year 2 for him to take that step,” Adofo-Mensah said. “So seeing it happen was more just our expectation of a good player getting more comfortable in the system and taking ownership of it. Really unfortunate that [Cousins’ injury] happened, but again, all our options are open — as they were before the injury.”

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