Purple Rumor Mill: Kirk Not Leaving, Jefferson Extension Upcoming, Hunter’s Steadfastness

Vikings Allegedly Said
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VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the November 4th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Kirk Not Leaving, Jefferson Extension Upcoming, Hunter’s Steadfastness

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: Not so fast — Kirk Cousins may not leave the Vikings after all in 2024.

Not Leaving
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Before Cousins’ unfortunate injury, nobody knew if Minnesota’s front office would welcome him back or what needed to occur this season to warrant Cousins’ seventh season in purple.

On Wednesday, however, Cousins returning for another hurrah didn’t sound too weird at all.

“Kirk Cousins is going to be healthy again. I know he’s going to be a free agent after this season, but Kirk knows how I feel about him, and that will be something, you know, that hopefully will work itself out,” head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters.

Of course, Cousins’ return or free-agent adventure isn’t solely up to O’Connell, but since arriving in Minneapolis 21 months ago, O’Connell and his boss, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, have preached a collaborative leadership mantra. If O’Connell wants Cousins back, there’s a decent chance it will happen.

O’Connell added, “You guys know how I feel about Kirk. Kirk knows how I feel about Kirk. I think he was playing as well as anybody in the National Football League.”

The other element of Cousins’ potential next chapter with the Vikings is money. Before the injury, he likely could’ve commanded between $40-50 million per season on the open market. Recovering from the Achilles tear and entering his age-36 season in 2023 might dial that sum back a tad or force Cousins to play on a “prove it” deal. The going rate in 2023 for an entry-level second-contract starter is $40 million annually, thanks to New York Giants and Daniel Jones. Cousins is nearly guaranteed to fetch that figure, or at least he was before the injury.

The takeaway? If you thought Cousins was a goner after last Sunday’s injury, it’s time to rethink that theory.

Rumor: For the umpteenth time, the Vikings leadership expressed its plan to extend Justin Jefferson.

Keep Streak
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Adofo-Mensah told reporters Wednesday about Jefferson’s extension talks, “There’s a reason they don’t normally get done two years early, and I’ll kind of leave it at that. You can look at salary caps and contracts and new money and all that stuff.”

When a deal is finalized, whenever that may be, Jefferson is expected to become the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

“The dialogue was always super positive. We think he’s the best receiver in the league, and we want him to be a Viking for a long time. I think that’s how we start. We’ll figure out the rest,” Adofo-Mensah concluded.

Wednesday’s musings from Adofo-Mensah aligned with a year-long string of comments from himself, the Vikings head coach, the team’s ownership, and Jefferson personally. Since the start of 2023, dating back to January, everyone involved has affirmed a deal will get done — it’s just a matter of when and how much.

“I don’t want to be the Vikings’ GM without that guy on our team,’ Adofo-Mensah declared at the 2023 NFL Combine.

Jefferson’s extension will be completed. Folks just need patience.

Rumor: Danielle Hunter was never going to be traded, despite rumors suggesting otherwise, and he knew it.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota started the season 1-4 and lost Jefferson for at least four games to injured reserve. Rumors swirled, suggesting Hunter could be offloaded to the highest bidder, mainly because the Vikings season felt lost.

But then the Vikings won three straight and hope to ride that momentum this weekend at Atlanta sans the services of Kirk Cousins, who was lost for the year to a torn Achilles tendon six days ago.

Hunter was asked by reporters Thursday about his thoughts on the trade rumor mill and its application to him this week, and he replied, “It was never anything in the back of my head.”

Some NFL brains theorized Hunter could be traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars — where Ezra Cleveland was traded — or the Las Vegas Raiders, a team that fired its general manager and head coach about nine hours after the trade deadline.

“I was always going to be here,” Hunter said Thursday.

After the Vikings defeated the 49ers, it never made sense at all that Minnesota would trade Hunter. And he knew it the whole time.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.