Latest On Vikings, Kirk Cousins

Today marks the opening of the franchise tag window, but Kirk Cousins‘ contract is not set to expire until after the deadline for teams to apply the tag. He is therefore on track for free agency unless another Vikings agreement can be worked out.

Cousins looms as one of the key figures in the 2024 free agent class as the most accomplished passer set to reach the open market. A new Minnesota deal could be forthcoming, as a mutual interest exists for a contract to be hammered out. However, SI’s Albert Breer notes the current Vikings regime is not prepared to guarantee Cousins’ next deal in full as its previous one was.

That serves as confirmation of a report from last month which detailed the four-time Pro Bowler’s efforts to receive guaranteed compensation through 2025 during summer extension talks. Minnesota – led in the front office by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah for the past two years – authorized a three-year, $84MM deal in 2018 under Rick Spielman as well as a $66MM extension followed by last year’s restructured pact. The latter agreement set up the team’s current situation, one which will dictate the rest of Minnesota’s offseason and represent a major domino in free agency around the league.

Both Cousins and the Vikings have expressed a desire to continue their six-year relationship on a new deal. Efforts to negotiate one will likely depend in large part on the guarantee figure, as a short-term arrangement should be expected. Cousins is entering his age-36 season and is rehabbing an Achilles tear. That injury put an stop to a promising 2023 campaign, where the former fourth-rounder posted the third highest passer rating (103.8) of his career.

The Vikings do not have an heir apparent under center, and the team has financial considerations such as a new Danielle Hunter contract and a Justin Jefferson mega-extension to take into account if free agency is used to find a Cousins replacement. Breer does add that the sides have spoken recently, and an open line of communication obviously offers the potential of a deal being struck before the new league year begins on March 13.

With the potential exception of Baker Mayfield, Cousins should be able to land the NFL’s largest QB deal amongst veterans this offseason. Minnesota will remain a team to watch closely as talks continue, but it will be interesting to see how strong of a market emerges if financial terms remain a sticking point. The upper limit of Cousins’ guarantee ask will be a key storyline in the coming weeks.

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