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Report: Broncos believe Kirk Cousins is headed to Minnesota

Kirk Cousins seems destined for Minnesota

Two days ago, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reported that the New York Jets, already believe free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins will sign with the Minnesota Vikings. The Jets have planned to enter themselves into the Cousins sweepstakes.

From Vacchiano: “Despite their willingness to throw a truckload of money and a heavily front-loaded contract at Cousins in an attempt to lure the free agent franchise quarterback to New York, the Jets are worried he might already be destined to sign with the Vikings instead. According to a team source, they are aware of the league-wide speculation that Cousins is ticketed for Minnesota and they are taking that threat seriously after some informal, preliminary talks with his camp this week.”

Monday morning, reports suggested that the Denver Broncos, another team in the race for Cousins, also believe Cousins has already decided on the Vikings. Benjamin Allbright tweeted that he believes Cousins has Minnesota “squarely in his sights.”

For those counting at home, that’s two of Adam Schefter’s final four in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes that believe the former Washington Redskin will wind up in Minnesota.

Minnesota is one of the few teams in the NFL that could afford a contract that Cousins will command. General manager Rick Spielman and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski have recently handed out a number of wealthy extensions to stars like Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes. Other key assets such as Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks will also be due for extensions soon.

Spielman and Brzezinski have back-loaded many of the extensions already handed out. For example, the cap hit for both Griffen and Joseph gradually increases throughout the life of each contract, which expire in 2022. The combined cap hit for Griffen and Joseph in 2019 is $21 million, more than $6 million fewer than the slated combined cap hit in 2022.

This strategy allows the Vikings to splash on a front-loaded, three-year deal for Cousins. Reports have suggested Cousins is seeking a three-year deal worth a total of $90 million — which sounds impossibly expensive. However, if Cousins is given roughly $35 million or even $40 million in the first year of the deal, his cap number would drop to somewhere between $20 million and $25 million in 2019 and 2020 — all while the salary cap itself continues to inflate.

Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling broke it down further here, explaining a front-loaded, three-year deal for Cousins would still give the Vikings about $50 million in cap space for 2019 and over $90 million in space for 2020.

The point here is that, as many have feared, signing Cousins will not mean the defense falls apart or that the Vikings won’t be able to afford their important young assets outside of the quarterback position. It’s truly unprecedented that a team could afford the highest-paid player in the NFL history and still be in a position to re-sign a bevy of talent that includes Barr, Diggs, Kendricks, Hunter and Trae Waynes. Well, it was unprecedented. Until now.

Cousins to Minnesota is gaining serious steam from both local and national media outlets. At this point, nobody should be surprised if an agreement between Cousins and the Vikings is reported immediately when free agency begins on March 14 at 4 p.m.

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Drew Mahowald

Drew Mahowald is a student at Saint John's University (MN) majoring in Media Communication. He proclaims himself as the number one fan of Little Caesars pizza and Jim Kleinsasser. The first Vikings game Drew remembers watching is the 41-0 blowout loss to the Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship game. Despite this, he has developed a deep knowledge and passion for the team. When he isn't writing about the Vikings, Drew is usually out golfing with friends or eating Little Caesar's pizza. You can find more of his work at CanisHoopus.com, the SB Nation affiliate Minnesota Timberwolves blog, or on Twitter at @DrewMahowald.

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19 Comments

  1. OK. Sounds good to me. But I’m fine if we don’t sign him also. I think Cousins would be a good fit with us, but I also think we could use that money to acquire talent at other positions and make our team stronger in several different ways. But I’ll back whatever our coaches and GM decide. SKOL

  2. I believe it will be Case or Kirk as the starter and maybe Teddy or Sam as the backup ~ Many ((( reporters ))) at the combines have said the Vikings treated Sam very well and that he love Zimmer ~ Teddy wants a short term deal to prove he can make it though a couple of OTA’s~preseasons while making it as a backup without blowing out another knee while just dropping back to throw a pass without any contact ~ I dont believe anyone will out bid the Vikings for Sam or Teddy ~

    For me a very good 3 Tech DT while they keep rebuilding the OL is just as important ~ Also finding a good #3 WR ~ While I haven’t given up on Treadwell I do not believe they can go into the season with him as their #3 ~ Wright is a better receiver but must really suck as a run blocker ~ I thought with Norv gone and Pat taking over he would find ways to use Wright ~ He didn’t and I’m not sure why ~ ???? He is a producer when give the chance ~

    I could see drafting another RB ((( higher than some might think ))) if Murray blinks at reworking his contract ~ Maybe 2nd or 3rd round ~ But these are just my best guesses ~ I have been wrong once in my life ~ Just ask my ex~wife if you don’t believe me ~ LOL

    My vote is for Case to return if they don’t sign Kirk ~

  3. I just posted this elsewhere, so, egomaniac that I am, I’m sharing it here with a tweak or two.

    Okay, I’ll play. First, free agency:

    1. Cousins to the Vikings (not what I want, but that’s where this scenario starts, so…).
    2. Keenum to the Broncos.
    3. Taylor to the Cardinals instead of Bradford given the state of their OL.
    4. McCown back to the Jets.
    5. Bradford to Buffalo, which plans to stick with Nathan Peterman as their developmental QB, allowing them to bolster the rest of the team with their two picks in both the first and second rounds.
    6. McCarron to the Browns – Hue Jackson’s final victory over ex-GM Sashi Brown? [pure, snarky speculation on my part] – who will use their six picks in the first three rounds of the draft to build up the team around him. DeShone Kizer remains their developmental QB.
    7. Bridgewater to the Giants, along with McKinnon, Berger and Easton. Eli Manning is officially on a much shorter leash. Teddy thinks this is a better situation than either Miami or Jacksonville.

    And come the draft:

    1. Barkley to the Browns with the #1 overall pick to keep the Giants or Colts from grabbing him.
    4. Do the Dolphins (11), Cardinals (15) or Jaguars (29) love any of the QB’s enough to trade up for the Browns #4 overall pick to get ahead of the Broncos (5) or Jets (6)? How about the Ravens (16) or Chargers (17)? If not…
    5. Darnold or Allen to the Broncos.
    6. Rosen to the Jets [setting up Broadway Joe Namath (Rosen) vs. St. Francis Tarkenton (Teddy) II, a revival of the late 60’s-early 70’s Jets/Giants rivalry as personified by their QB’s, very different both on the field but especially off.]
    11. Allen or Darnold to Miami [the flamingos wouldn’t be the only things tickled pink by this surprising development].
    15. Jackson to the Cardinals, as they go all in with mobile QB’s.
    16. The Ravens find themselves fielding calls from the Jaguars, in a panic to secure a QB to push Blake Bortles or replace him if necessary, and the Bills, who believe they can now hold on to one of their first round picks while trading up for a far better developmental prospect than Peterman. The Bills win out, trading the Chiefs’ #1 (22nd overall) and the Rams’ #2 (56th overall), and maybe Peterman, to the Ravens, and select Mayfield.
    29. In desperation, the Jaguars trade their #1 to Philadelphia for Nick Foles, who the Eagles had been dangling out there for a first rounder only half-heartedly, since they want a veteran available to start the season in case Wentz’ rehabilitation makes him unavailable.

    On Day 2 of the draft, Mike Glennon finds himself signed by the Super Bowl Champion Eagles to be their insurance policy for Wentz’s recovery. Not a bad consolation prize for having been cut by the Bears and losing all of that money.

    That was fun!

    1. I cant disagree with any of that though I have Teddy signing with the Panther who I believe will make the biggest push because of Norv and Scott Turner who scouted and pushed for his drafting ~ Other than that we agree ~

      I still wouldn’t bet against Case resigning with the Vikings ~ But like you all roads seem to lead to Kirk ~

      1. Bridgewater to Carolina would be a last resort for him because he would be a back-up, period, and not even an heir apparent, since Newton’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

        1. After the type of injury he has took 2 years to recover from I don’t believe even the Brows would chance signing him as a starter ~ I think he will be a backup in 2018 ~ After he proves he can stay healthy for another year then maybe someone takes a chance ~ But that just how I see it ~ Doesn’t mean I’m right ~

  4. Seriously, I really don’t want the team to sign Cousins, but yeah, they can do it without forcing Diggs, Kendricks, Hunter or Waynes out, let alone Barr or an Adam Theilen who might very well be looking to renegotiate his deal UP after the last two seasons he’s had.

    1. Yeah I’m worried that in the way Zimmer loves to run the ball Kirk could be a waste of money ~ ((( Could be a waste of money ~))) However I also worry anyone outside of Kirk~Sam~Case could cost the Vikings a very important games if they they are behind and don’t have a gunslinger with a very good to arm ~ Finishing off the OL will be key for 2018 no matter who the QB is ~ I go with whatever Spielman and the coaching staff believe is best for the team ~

      1. I don’t think Case’s arm is any better than Teddy’s, or that any of the free agents who’ve been bandied about lack the arm strength to get the job done. The pocket presence, health, feel for the passing game, those may be other stories…

  5. Really wouldn’t want them to spend anything over $25 million a year for Cousins – would prefer it being around $22 a year. Want a strong defense and offensive line – the two of these things will go a long ways. Don’t sacrifice the future for a QB that might not be any better than what is already here and could be signed for less.

    1. I agree and its the reason I don’t believe Kirk’s stats would be out of this world good is because of what Zimmer has preach from day 1 ~ Being able to run the ball and stop the run ~ This is the reason I could see them going with Case ~ Not that they will ~ Just a gut feeling ~ One that has left me looking like a fool many times ~ LOL

      This team is going to be built to run the ball as much as they throw it ((( unless they are playing from behind ))) while playing strong defense ~ OL and 3Tech DT are just as important to me as a fan as who the QB is ~ They need that special 3 Tech and at least two OG’s at the top of the draft just to field another good teams ~ OT be it left or right side scare me based off what I have heard about this draft class ~

  6. Place definitely looks different. I haven’t posted in awhile… football hangover from the Philly beat down. I’m for getting Case back, Cousins is good but not great. Don’t see him collecting more wins than Keenum. Plus it would save about 10 million … spend more for O-line, and D-line. It starts up front.

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