Vikings Force Kirk Cousins’ Hand in Latest Contract Negotiations: Report

Kirk Cousins

Getty Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

The Minnesota Vikings gave Kirk Cousins a notice.

With potential trade dealings on hold after a call with the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings also have a proposed contract extension on the table for Cousins, KSTP’s Darren Wolfson reported on March 11.

Cousins has remained adamant he will not take a pay cut for the upcoming season. Depending on the number Minnesota has offered him in their latest offer (potentially a team-friendly deal), Cousins could be squeezed to either take the deal given or be traded.

The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Vikings!

Vikings Front Office Nearing a Decision on Cousins

KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, responding to a false rumor that Cousins was traded to the Miami Dolphins, revealed that the Vikings have offered Cousins a contract extension — an effort to lower his cap hit for the upcoming season and lock him in at a more reasonable rate for the future.

Minnesota’s front office and coaching staff have held lengthy meetings spanning up to 10 hours this week, per Wolfson, with the start of the league year approaching on March 16. The Vikings need to clear at least $15 million to be cap-compliant and will likely want to shed more cap weight to sign choice-free agents.

Cousins carries the heaviest burden on the team coffers; a $45 million cap hit that is the most expensive of any player in the NFL after Aaron Rodgers‘ contract extension and Matt Ryan restructuring his deal on March 11.

However, Cousins has not accepted said offer and is not in the business of offering Minnesota a “hometown discount,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported. He’s likely looking for a deal upwards of $40 million a year, NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported.

CBS Sports Jason La Canfora’s latest update on the Cousins front is that the Vikings are “very open” to moving the veteran quarterback.

Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!

Cousins Applying All His Leverage

This isn’t the first time Cousins has refused a long-term deal. In Washington, he declined contract extensions and opted to take the franchise tag in 2016 and 2017 before entering free agency. A game shy of the 2017 Super Bowl, the Vikings took a big swing on Cousins that hasn’t panned out — two years removed from their last playoff appearance and a winning record.

The new regime of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have arrived to pick up the pieces — with Cousins’ fate being the most significant decision facing the franchise. A trade this offseason would guarantee Minnesota gets something in return for Cousins.

If the Vikings cannot reach a contract extension or find a trade partner, Cousins could walk as a free agent in 2023 and potentially leave Minnesota with nill over his tenure.

However, Cousins is in a win-win situation. If he declines a contract extension with the Vikings, he can be traded to a team ready to win now and is willing to pay his salary. If Minnesota cannot trade him and they don’t work out a deal, he becomes the highest-paid player for the 2022 season and can play free agency just as he did in 2018.

He’s largely held leverage over Minnesota throughout his tenure, but the Vikings now have a reasonable exit route of their own by accepting serious trade talks in the coming days.

Read More