Analyst Urges AFC Rival to Sign Kirk Cousins Away From Vikings in Free Agency

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

As more time passes, there is a growing sense that the Minnesota Vikings could let Kirk Cousins test the market in free agency. It is a risky proposition. For Cousins, however, it could be an opportunity to cash in.

ESPN’s Mina Kimes believes the Las Vegas Raiders should give him that opportunity.

“When you talk about who’s going to play quarterback for them next year, you start considering not options just in the draft but also in free agency,” Kimes said on “NFL Live” on February 16. “Specifically, Kirk Cousins, who is a free agent – I think most people agree is going to be probably the highest-paid free-agent quarterback.

“I think they’d be able to afford his contract, and I would like that for them. Because I think it’s a good destination.

“I would like Las Vegas to make a run at Kirk and see if they can entice him to come south.”

Las Vegas cut 2023 Week 1 starter Jimmy Garoppolo, amid a looming suspension for PEDs.

They still have 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell in the mix. But they have $49.9 million in cap space following Garoppolo’s release, per Spotrac. Perhaps pairing Cousins with former NFC North rival Davante Adams is appealing.

Cousins’ one-year, $35 million contract expires on March 13. Cousins will count for at least $28.5 million against the cap next season unless the Vikings work out an extension.

Minnesota enters the offseason with $28.9 million in cap space.

Spotrac projects Cousins to command a contract starting at around $40 million annually. But NBC Sports’ Mike Florio suggested the four-time Pro Bowler’s next pact could approach $45 million annually.

Insider Questions Vikings’ Strategy With Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

GettyKirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

“There’s a chance they don’t want to keep him,” Florio wrote on February 17. “There’s a chance they want to create the impression that he chose to leave. That it wasn’t their call to not pay $45 million per year (or thereabouts) to a quarterback who turns 36 in August, and who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.”

Cousins has spoken candidly about playing future. But he also said that he is anxious to know what’s next during an interview with Sky Sports on January 30.

Florio questions Minnesota’s strategy of making Cousins wait at the risk of driving him away.

“If that’s the strategy, they’re handling it perfectly,” Florio wrote. “But if they actually want him, the strategy seems to be that they want to see what others will pay before making their move. If that’s the case, it’s a very bad strategy.”

However, Cousins is also the one who has said that his football fate won’t be decided until the end of February or the beginning of March.

Vikings on Trade Watch Ahead of 2024 Draft

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnsota Vikings

GettyGeneral Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The stream of reports that the Vikings are interested in drafting a quarterback and that they are not against trading up to land one in this year’s cycle only serves to add to the uncertainty around the situation.

Rumors have linked them to LSU’s Jayden Daniels if they do trade up.

They have also been linked to Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oregon’s Bo Nix, and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. in various mock drafts.

The uncertainty around Cousins might be contributing to the number of reports. But this would arguably be the Vikings’ best plan even if Cousins was already under contract for next season given his age and injury history.