Cousins’ future has been in the air since the start of the campaign, with it becoming clear talks on a new deal would likely not take place until after the season. Given Sunday’s development, that will surely be the case as the Vikings turn their attention to rookie Jaren Hall and trade acquisition Josh Dobbs under center to close out the campaign. Cousins’ injury is not expected to change the organization’s stance on his Minnesota tenure, however.
“Like I said when we broke off talks the first time, every option was still available to Kirk,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “And coming back was one of the really good options we had… All options are [as] open as they were before the injury.”
Both Cousins and the Vikings have expressed a desire to continue their six-year relationship, so it comes as little surprise that both Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell quickly stated their continued commitment to at least seriously exploring another new contract. The former noted that Cousins’ skillset as a pocket passer could limit the impact of a major injury like an Achilles tear. Plus, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com observes, Cousins’ surgery was conducted by Vikings team doctor Chris Coetzee, so Minnesota will have something of an inside scoop when deciding whether to pursue a new contract prior to the opening of free agency. Rapoport confirms that a Cousins re-up is indeed on the table, with Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required) adding that many in the building want Cousins back.
Adofo-Mensah added that talks with Cousins, 35, on his recovery plan have led to the “hope” he will be healthy in time for OTAs this spring. By that point, Minnesota will have needed to reach agreement on a new contract – a Cousins franchise tag would be worth an untenable $52.2MM – or found a replacement at the QB spot. Cousins’ performance in 2023 drew rave reviews from inside and outside the organization, giving the Vikings confidence in their decision not to sell off multiple players during this week’s trade deadline.
With the commitment to a ‘competitive rebuild’ thus still intact, it will be interesting to see how the upcoming Cousins negotiations shape up. His market for outside teams will no doubt take a hit given his injury, but it is clear the door is still open to another, presumably, short-term, Vikings arrangement.