Kirk Cousins Predicted to Sign Monster Deal, Remain With Vikings

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Getty Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings may change things up under center for the first time in six years, but the best bet remains the return of starter Kirk Cousins.

Dan Graziano of ESPN reported the day before the Super Bowl that the Vikings’ quarterback situation is among the more relevant of the league’s storylines in Las Vegas ahead of the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

“Kirk Cousins’ impending free agency is a story at this year’s Super Bowl, much like it was six years ago when the big game was in Minneapolis,” Graziano wrote on Saturday, February 10. “The Minnesota Vikings are working to see if they can keep their 35-year-old quarterback — who is coming off an Achilles tear — and they’d like to have an answer in the next few weeks so they can plan accordingly.”

Bringing Cousins back to Minnesota won’t be cheap. In fact, he’s expected to ask for a raise over the $35 million deal on which he played the 2023 season. David Kenyon of Bleacher Report predicted Saturday that Cousins will ultimately sign a two-year deal worth $82 million total to remain in purple and gold, including $70 million guaranteed.

Kirk Cousins’ Achilles Tear Unlikely to Impact His Leverage in Contract Talks With Vikings

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

Kenyon argued that the current market for starting quarterbacks in the NFL is so large that even despite suffering the worst injury of his career in his late 30s — an Achilles tear against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8 — Cousins holds significant leverage in contract talks.

Without a doubt, the Minnesota Vikings would prefer to keep him. Despite that injury, Cousins —who will turn 36 in August — has otherwise been a durable QB, so he’s not an abnormal injury risk. He’d been playing at a decently high level before the unfortunate setback, too.

Wherever he lands, it’s fair to expect Cousins will ink a two- or three-year contract with no less than $35 million per season and likely above $40 million.

Vikings’ Business With OLB Danielle Hunter on Hold Until Situation With Kirk Cousins Resolved

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have a significant advantage in negotiating with Cousins, as they are the only team that can do so ahead of the official start of free agency in mid-March, per league rules. If the quarterback makes it to free agency without a contract, the likelihood is far greater that he will play elsewhere because of what that will mean for Minnesota’s cap sheet.

Various contract restructures mean that large portions of money the team has already paid Cousins will count against the team’s salary cap to one degree or another over each of the next four years. That currently includes a $28.5 million hit against the cap that the Vikings will incur in 2024 if the team and Cousins don’t agree to an extension by the last day of the NFL year.

“That dead cap acceleration wouldn’t prevent [the Vikings] from re-signing [Cousins], but it would be a lot easier for them to manage the deal if they could get an agreement before March 12 and defray some of those charges into future years of a new deal,” Graziano wrote.

Minnesota must also consider how adding Cousins, or letting him walk, will impact the future of some of their other prominent players. For instance, Graziano mentioned that extension talks with star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter will likely remain on hold until the Vikings make a final decision on Cousins.

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