The Vikings Can Afford the Current QB1 for 2 More Years

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Annually since the 2020 offseason, the Minnesota Vikings first pre-spring domino involves Kirk Cousins’ contract. Some fans and media outlets bang the drum — nonstop — on a trade that never happens, while the Vikings front office usually extends the quarterback’s contract.

And this year is absolutely no different. Minnesota can extend Cousins, let his contract expire at the end of the 2023 season, or trade him to a destination of his choosing because of his nifty no-trade clause.

The Vikings Can Afford the Current QB1 for 2 More Years

Regardless of that decision, the Vikings have two years to “get it right” with Cousins as QB1, and here’s why.

Jefferson’s Juice Starts in 2025

The Vikings Can Afford
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Justin Jefferson will sign a gargantuan contract with the Vikings very soon. And that deal will net him $30-$35 million per season. While the deal is on the books and Jefferson will be guaranteed xxx dollars, the big-money part of the contract doesn’t kick in until the start of the 2025 season. Jefferson was drafted in the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Minnesota will exercise his fifth-year option for 2024.

According to the 23-year-old, he has no plan to venture elsewhere, telling reporters after the Vikings were bounced from the playoffs, “I mean, I will be wherever I’m wanted. If they want me here, I’m here. That’s not something that I can really control. “

Jefferson will remain a Viking for the next seven-plus years, and he’ll be paid handsomely along the way.

Cousins Will Be 37 in 2025

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The element of age was absent from the recent “Cousins debates” of 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Cousins, per history, is no longer in his prime and will turn 35 this summer. The Vikings may indeed extend the man by one or two more years, but age is suddenly a weighing factor in the decision. What if Cousins regresses like Ben Roethlisberger in 2020? That must be considered.

Well, by the time Jefferson’s megabucks hit the books, Cousins will be 37, and it is unclear if he’s the type of quarterback who will excel at an “advanced age” like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Maybe? Perhaps not?

Cousins is unlikely to fall off a cliff in 2023 or 2024 — it could happen but probably not — so he has these two precious years in 2023 and 2024 before Jefferson money dominates the Vikings salary cap.

And that’s all assuming the Vikings extend Cousins, which is not a no-brainer as of February 13th.

Can’t Afford $40M QB and $30M WR

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This is the new trend in the NFL as wide receiver approach “quarterback money” via contracts. It is rather difficult to pay two players about $70 million in salary while leaving crumbs for the other 51 players.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t find the possible strategy very wise and made the bold move of trading a Top-2 NFL wideout to the Miami Dolphins to wiggle from underneath Tyreek Hill’s chunky contract.

And then those same Chiefs won a Super Bowl 11 months later for their troubles. The plan worked.

Teams will pay a quarterback and a wide receiver on the same team big bucks less and less. When Jefferson’s giant dollars set in two years from now, that is probably the time that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah leans into the “quarterback on a rookie deal” slogan. He’ll need to offset Jefferson’s wad of cash.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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