NFC Rivals Preparing to Pull Kirk Cousins Away From Vikings, Insider Says

Kirk Cousins

Getty Kirk Cousins and Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell.

After failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, quarterback Kirk Cousins revealed that he plans to not engage in any more contract talks with the team until March.

Unless the Vikings make him an offer he can’t refuse until then, Cousins intends to entertain free agency, where two old friends and NFC contenders are expected to engage in a “tug of war” for the four-time Pro Bowler — The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.

“I think you’re going to see — unless the Vikings re-sign him by then, and they can’t use the franchise tag on him, the way his contract is structured — you’re going to see a potential tug of war between Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay for Kirk Cousins next March,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said June 22 on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “Mark that down.”

Shanahan and McVay worked with Cousins in Washington as many of the league’s brightest offensive minds came up under the Shanahan coaching tree with Cousins executing their offense.

Los Angeles and San Francisco have ideal situations that could lure Cousins away from Minnesota after the Vikings declined to take a hometown discount from the veteran quarterback last spring.

 Why Vikings Declined Hometown Discount With Kirk Cousins

Cousins’ reputation proceeds him as the recipient of some of the largest contracts in NFL history.

He’s earned over $159 million the past five seasons with the Vikings, the largest by any player in the league. However, after leading the league with eight game-winning drives last season, Cousins didn’t test the waters of how much he could get with quarterback annual earnings exceeding $50 million.

Apparently, he wanted three more seasons in Minnesota and was willing to take a discount, Star Tribune reporters Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer revealed on the Access Vikings podcast.

“The sense I’ve gotten is that they didn’t want to commit as long as what he was looking for. They wanted something shorter, he wanted something longer. My understanding is that 2025 was the issue,” Goessling said. “The question of how long would everyone guarantee it for. I think he wanted ’25, they were like ‘Well, we don’t want to commit that long.’ He’d be 37 before the 2025 season so it gets to be later in the game than you want to fully guarantee a quarterback deal.”

Krammer added that Cousins was willing to take a discount despite an inflated quarterback market that saw New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones secure a deal worth over $40 million a year.

“I had also heard that he wasn’t asking for $40 [million],” Krammer added. “He wasn’t asking for that much, in terms of what Daniel Jones got, who is obviously much younger but much less accomplished. Cousins’ camp was kind of surprised I guess, from what I heard, at the Vikings not jumping or at least accepting what they were asking for.”

 Kirk Cousins to Go Where He’s Wanted Long-Term

Throughout the tenure of his career, Cousins has largely been the guy teams have stuck with yet rarely committed to.

Other than his three-year, $84 million contract he signed to join the Vikings in 2018, he’s largely had to go back to the bartering table in one- to two-year intervals.

Cousins, who turns 35 in August, is looking for one more long-term deal, which the new regime in Minnesota. has not shown they’re willing to offer.

If another suitor can give Cousins a three-year deal, his loyalties to the purple and gold may be pushed aside for long-term security in the twilight of his career.