Vikings Intend To Bring Back QB Kirk Cousins

Now that their season has come to an end, the Vikings can really buckle down on extension negotiations with veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins. These aren’t new conversations, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made his team’s intentions known back in November, after the 35-year-old passer tore his Achilles tendon, taking him out for the year. At the time, Cousins, too, reiterated his desire to stay in Minnesota, but now that it’s time to start negotiating, the structure of the deal will apparently be an important focus moving forward, per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert.

While some may look at Cousin’s age and question why the Vikings would want to commit to someone in their late 30s, Cousins was playing some of the best football of his career before his injury. He was averaging 291.4 passing yards per game and led the NFL in both passing yards and touchdowns when he got hurt. Through eight games, Cousins was on pace to set a number of career-highs, if he kept pace. Pair that with the blossoming of rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison as a strong WR2 to pair with star Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn, and the prospects for Minnesota’s season could’ve projected fairly high.

Even before the injury, things were trending in the direction of Cousins remaining in Minnesota. After a 1-4 start to the season, some thought that Cousins would become a popular trade target, with some quarterback hungry teams, like the Jets, reaching out to inquire about him. Despite the early-season struggles, the Vikings made it clear that Cousins was not available.

With that being determined, though, Minnesota is now on the clock to hash out a new deal with Cousins before the start of the 2024 league year on March 14. If the Vikings are unable to extend Cousins by then, they will be forced to confront $28.5MM in dead money, a consequence of the void-year money used to spread out the cost of his current contract over time.

Even though both sides seem amenable to a deal, the structure concern is not a small one. Cousins has become the posterchild for paradigm contracts with fully guaranteed money. Interestingly, though, Cousins told reporters that “the dollars are really not what it’s about.” His focus on structure is reportedly everything else determined in the deal. While he’ll seemingly still want a respectable number sent his way, Cousins claims that he’ll be looking at the other parts of the deal (length, incentives, bonuses, etc.) more.

Currently, Cousins ranks 15th among active quarterbacks in average annual contract value with $35MM per year. It’s really hard to determine what kind of new extension offers will be floated his way based on the above information. For once in his career, though, it seems like Cousins may be accepting non-guaranteed money in a new contract.

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