The Mini Bombshell about Kirk Cousins Extension Talks

San Francisco Newspaper
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If you believed Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins wanted “Daniel Jones money” this offseason amid contract extension talks, that might’ve been a false assumption.

The Vikings, for now, haven’t extended Cousins’ contract beyond the 2023 season, meaning the soon-to-be 35-year-old is slated to hit free agency next March. Quarterbacks of Cousins’ caliber rarely hit the open market, with the exception of Derek Carr this year and, well, Cousins in 2018.

The Mini Bombshell about Kirk Cousins Extension Talks

And according to the Star Tribune, it sounds like Cousins only sought an extension comparable to his current per-season value — not a chunky deal in line with the aforementioned Jones or ever-escalating quarterback market.

The Mini Bombshell
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Cousins’ current deal fetches $35 million per year, a humongous number to the naked eye but around the ninth-highest in the NFL under a microscope. He reportedly wanted to stay near where he was at for average annual value.

“I had also heard that he wasn’t asking for $40 million. He wasn’t asking for that much, in terms of what Daniel Jones got, who is obviously much younger but much less accomplished,” Star Tribune’s Andrew Krammer said on the Access Vikings podcast earlier this week.

Year 1 of the O'Connell Era
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Krammer added, “Cousins’ camp was kind of surprised I guess, from what I heard, at the Vikings not jumping or at least accepting what they were asking for.”

If the Access Vikings musings are correct, there’s only one reason to explain it — the Vikings aren’t interested in tying the long-term vision to a quarterback at age 36 and over. The 2023 campaign is evidently fine with Cousins at 35 — he could’ve been traded otherwise — but a cutoff is in effect. The development might also suggest why every mock drafter in NFL media has chosen a quarterback for the Vikings in Round 1 of April’s draft this week. Indeed, trading up for Kentucky’s Will Levis or reaching for Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker has been all the Vikings buzz with the draft about four weeks away.

The Kirk Cousins Debate
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Moreover, since taking over the Vikings in January of 2022, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has repeatedly mentioned his endorsement of a “competitive rebuild” philosophy. Parting ways with Cousins after two years of the Cousins + Kevin O’Connell experiment might adhere to his strategy of competitively rebuilding. After all, the franchise is in advantageous shape with offensive pillars Justin Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, T.J. Hockenson, and Brian O’Neill. When Cousins moves on, “the next guy” should step in and face a decent chance of succeeding.

Still, the Vikings won 13 games in Year No. 1 of the O’Connell-Cousins duo, so no matter how you dice it, telling Cousins “no thanks” to $35 million or so is a bit odd.

It’s all the more reason to sharpen your focus on quarterbacks in the mock-draft simulators.

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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