He wants Cousins to stay put in Minnesota amid rumors and speculation surrounding what a new regime will do with the 33-year-old veteran quarterback.
Peterson made his case why Cousins should be retained in 2022, but which direction a new regime will go remains to be seen.
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‘He’s Captain Kirk for Sure’
On a recent episode of the All Things Covered podcast, Peterson admitted he is unsure what will happen to Cousins.
“I don’t know. Especially now, with the new GM, new coach. Typically when things like that happen, they get a bulldozer and they just start crashing through everything, almost like they clean house. I don’t know. I can’t say,” Peterson said. “I would love to see Kirk finishing up here. I think he has a great rapport with Adam (Thielen), with Justin (Jefferson), getting better with Justin each and every week.”
Peterson added that Cousins was a significant factor in Jefferson posting the most receiving yards (3,016) and receptions (196) by any player in the first two years of their career.
“Having the opportunity to be the fastest receiver in two years with that many yards. Kirk was a big part of that. I just think Kirk is just a very great leader. Poised player. Never really under duress in games. I just think he’s very chill. He’s Captain Kirk for sure. I don’t know if he’ll be here, but I’d love to see him continue that connection with Justin, Adam and the one we didn’t see here, Irv Smith. It will be interesting to see what happens.”
While many new coaches often inherit bad situations, the Vikings are considered one of the most talented teams with a coaching vacancy.
“If you’re looking to come into a spot and not worry about the quarterback… he’s the better option out of all those quarterbacks,” Peterson said, adding that he wouldn’t mind returning to Minnesota. “Ultimately, it’s going to come down to getting a new head coach. For the most part, new head coaches come in and tear up the whole scene. Why would you want to tear up this team? This is probably the most talented team that has a coaching vacancy.”
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Vikings Ownership Leaving Cosuins’ Future With New Regime
On Monday, Vikings president Mark Wilf addressed local media following the firings of head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.
During the press conference, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder reporter Larry Fitzgerald Sr. referenced a statistic that no Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the past 10 seasons has taken up 13% or more of the team’s cap space. Cousins’ $45 million cap hit in 2022, which ranks third among NFL quarterbacks, is slated to take up 21% of the Vikings’ cap space next season.
Fitzgerald asked Wilf if Cousins’ hefty cap hit that doesn’t align with the formula for past success would be addressed and whether his presence has hurt the Vikings.
“I don’t want to be, to use the phrase, a Monday morning quarterback on this situation because we have to look forward,” Wilf replied. “We’re going to bring in the right people to help evaluate the answer to that question.”
A solution to that question would be to extend Cousins.
Former NFL agent Joel Corry recently ran the numbers and projected that the Vikings could clear as much as $20 million in cap space through an extension.
The Vikings should be able to comfortably clear $20 million 2022 cap space through a Cousins extension. One way this could be done is by is lowering Cousins’ base salary to a fully guaranteed $5 million while giving him a $50 million signing bonus on a four-year extension. There would be $10 million of annual signing bonus proration from 2022-26 to go along with the existing $10 million of signing bonus proration in 2022 relating to the 2020 extension. Cousins’ 2022 cap number would drop from $45,166,668 to $25,166,668 in the process.