Kirk Cousins, Mike Zimmer Discuss QB’s Future

The quarterbacks carousel is already spinning, but it sounds like one name may not be involved in the trade chatter. During an appearance on NFL Network, Vikings head coach offered some rare praise for quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“Kirk’s our guy,” Zimmer said (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “You know, he had a terrific year this year. We were fourth in the league on offense. We have to get better on defense — we had a lot of injuries and young guys — that’s my job to get it fixed.”

As Patra notes, Zimmer has traditionally been “vague and cantankerous” when discussing his franchise signal-caller, so this is an interesting pivot. While Cousins hasn’t been roped into trade rumors by any reputable sources, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com threw some fuel on the fire when he examined the intricacies of a hypothetical Cousins trade earlier this week.

As Florio writes, if the Vikings were to move on from Cousins, they’d presumably be eyeing one of the few potential upgrades at the position. Alternatively, the organization could look to move on from the $56MM remaining on his deal, including a $35MM base salary for 2022 that becomes fully guaranteed in mid-March. After signing a two-year extension last offseason, the two sides could work on a new deal to save the organization same cash. For what it’s worth, Cousins recently told Florio that he’d be open to sticking around Minnesota beyond 2022.

“Honestly, I just signed the extension last offseason and it really doesn’t kick in ’til this coming year,” Cousins said. “It’s a two-year deal. Those two years begin with 2021. . . . I think it’s more about going out there next season and the year after that and playing at a high enough level that would justify being able to do another deal beyond that. That’s really where my focus is. As I said earlier, would like to be a Viking for the remainder of my career. I’ve got to play well enough to make that happen.”

While Minnesota struggled a bit in 2020, it wasn’t because of a lack of production from their quarterback position, as Cousins tossed a career-high 35 touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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