Vikings Draw Line in Sand on New Deal for QB Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Getty QB Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings want to bring Kirk Cousins back next season, but only on their terms, which are apparently very specific.

Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported on Thursday, February 22, that the team is standing pat on its position against offering Cousins a fully-guaranteed three-year contract.

“I continue to believe the Vikings are not guaranteeing anything in 2026, so if that’s the sticking point Kirk Cousins is landing elsewhere,” Wolfson said, per SKOR North.

Wolfson’s reporting echoed that of national NFL writer Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated from three days before.

“The current Minnesota brass, now going into its third season, really likes Cousins, but it’s also been made clear that they’re not going to go contractually where the previous regime did twice and give Cousins a fully guaranteed deal,” Breer wrote on February 19. “Absent that, Cousins is now in position to hit the market like he did six years ago, this time older and, of course, more injured.”

Current Vikings Management Team Has Been Cautious About Kirk Cousins for 2 Years

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

Cousins will turn 36 years old ahead of the 2024 campaign. He has made $185 million in Minnesota over the past six seasons, all of which was fully guaranteed.

However, the new regime of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell only surrendered the last deal of Cousins’ career with the Vikings, signing him to a one-year extension worth $35 million for the 2023 campaign ahead of the 2022 season. The front office is assuming a similar tactic now, pushing for a short-term agreement but refusing to offer huge guaranteed money over multiple years.

Cousins was playing some of the best football of his career last season, his second in O’Connell’s offensive system, before suffering an Achilles tear against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. The quarterback led the NFL with 18 passing touchdowns at the time of his injury.

Vikings Have Multiple Options if Kirk Cousins Departs in Free Agency

Baker Mayfield

GettyTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

If the Vikings can’t work out an agreement with Cousins they deem fair and he ultimately leaves for a new team in free agency, Minnesota won’t be out of options.

The franchise owns the No. 11 pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. The Vikings could trade out of that pick in either direction — potentially moving up as high as No. 3 via a deal with the New England Patriots to select either Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, or moving down several spots in order to acquire extra draft capital and still draft a player such as Bo Nix.

In either case, Minnesota can sign a free agent veteran like Sam Darnold of the San Francisco 49ers as a one- or two-year buffer on a rookie QB, allowing the new addition to the league to learn while still theoretically being able to compete in the NFC North Division.

Or, if the Vikings don’t like the rookie crop of signal-callers, they could take a shot on a multiyear deal with someone such as Baker Mayfield of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mayfield is 2-2 as a playoff starter over the course of his career and just had a career year in Tampa, eclipsing 4,000 yards passing for the first time.

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