Vikings’ Impasse with Kirk Cousins Remains the Same

Mattison Crossing
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks before a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The start of the NFL Combine created buzz for the Minnesota Vikings, and rightfully so.

Vikings’ Impasse with Kirk Cousins Remains the Same

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah weighed in on matters like Justin Jefferson’s eventual extension and Danielle Hunter’s free agency. And when asked about Kirk Cousins, he and head coach Kevin O’Connell affirmed a year-long stance: everyone wants Cousins back for a seventh season.

Impasse with Kirk
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Adofo-Mensah’s comments, though, did nothing to end the impasse. The Vikings + Cousins’ representation are in the same spot, a familiar song and dance from the last seven weeks.

It’s all about the money and contract structure.

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For starters, O’Connell mentioned Cousins and his would-be role for the 2024 Vikings. “I think Kirk wants to be a Viking. He knows we want him to be a Viking. Hopefully, we can work to get there,” O’Connell told KFAN’s Paul Allen moments before taking the podium at the 2024 NFL Combine.

Those words are nothing new — at all — regarding Cousins. O’Connell adores him and wants him back. It’s that simple.

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About a half-hour later, Adofo-Mensah echoed a similar sentiment about wanting Cousins back in Minnesota. He told reporters at the Combine, “Had a great conversation with him a few days ago. At the end of the day, it’s we have our interests, he has his, and we get to the table and see if we can figure out a creative solution and how to meet in the middle. What we do know is we have a really great quarterback, a great leader, and somebody that we think we can win the ultimate prize with, and so that’s ultimately what I focus on, and that’s where we’re at right now.”

The second sentence is the kicker: At the end of the day, it’s we have our interests, he has his.

Without any debate, Cousins has always offered a lovable persona, but that emphatically doesn’t erase his wherewithal to demand and command mucho dinero. The guy doesn’t take discounts, and it’s only because he habitually seems like a “nice guy” that fans speculate, “Maybe Kirk will play for cheap.”

He doesn’t do that. He never has, and it’s unlikely that he’ll start now.

the Radar
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter said it best last week. He mentioned the Cousins sweepstakes on the Unsportsmanlike podcast, “Let’s just say, hypothetically. I’m making this up. Minnesota is willing to pay Kirk Cousins $45 million a year. And the Atlanta Falcons are willing to pay Kirk Cousins $50 million a year. And you’re Kirk Cousins — how do you want to handle that?”

“That’s the job of his agent, to report back to him and say, ‘Ok. Kirk. Here’s the landscape that you can’t be tagged. It looks as high as Minnesota is willing to go as high as this. There might be a team or two that can get to this. What do you want to do?’ And there’s your decision, wherever he wants to go,” Schefter added.

The Vikings want Cousins back. They really do. But they’re probably not excited about flinging $50 million in his direction. Saying, “We want him back,” at the NFL Combine does nothing to change Cousins’ usual expensive asking price.

This boils down to which side caves. Neither may.

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).

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