Prominent Vikings Voice Pours Cold Water on Kirk Cousins Reunion

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.

Kirk Cousins may return to the Minnesota Vikings as QB1, but it will be at a pricepoint foremost desirable to the organization.

That’s the popular consensus regarding the 35-year-old after the team’s year-end press conference last week. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spoke highly about bringing Cousins back in 2024 but also mentioned his role to “protect” the Vikings financially.

Prominent Vikings Voice Pours Cold Water on Kirk Cousins Reunion

Meanwhile, Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings on Sundays and a host on KFAN, recently questioned Minnesota’s plan to reunite with Cousins, at least for a gargantuan deal.

Prominent Vikings Voice
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

Allen said on his daily show Thursday, “How hard can the Vikings preach analytics if you ship all in on a 36-year-old quarterback of a busted Achilles? How hard can you preach new-school, margin rules, or whatever?”

Adofo-Mensah is known for his adherence to sports analytics, sometimes called “Moneyball,” and Allen doesn’t really believe a freshly injured Cousins fits in Minnesota’s budget at his usual asking price.

“In no way does that amount of cash for that age off that injury absolutely check all the boxes, analytically speaking, of what they’re thinking,” Allen added.

Are All the Vikings Draft
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins could also return with the Vikings on a “hometown discount,” a widespread theory in the last two weeks that marries both worlds — for those who want Cousins back but also want the franchise to have money available for free agents and perhaps draft a quarterback of the future. Reporters even asked Cousins last week about reuniting with the Vikings at a discount, and he replied, “That’s a great question and one I’ve thought about pretty much my whole 12 years. I do think it’s important to be aware of. I think that God has blessed me financially beyond my wildest dreams. So at this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about.”

In all likelihood, the masses’ definition of team-friendly or hometown discount differs wildly from reality. When folks hear hometown discount for an NFL quarterback, they think about 10 million bucks. In real life, a team-friendly deal for Cousins would probably end up around $35-$40 million each season.

Cousins to NFC
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Minnesota has around $26 million in cap space heading into the offseason, a vast improvement from recent years when the franchise was either in the red or sitting with a couple of million.

Cousins added a week and a half ago, “I had a coach who I was with who was a younger coach at the time. This was back eight, nine years ago, before my first franchise tag, and we were talking about the situation, and he made a great comment. He said, ‘Kirk, it’s not about the dollars, but it is about what the dollars represent.’ I thought that was an interesting comment that he made. There will always be some of that.”

On January 10th, the media asked Adofo-Mensah if he wanted Cousins in purple next season, and he responded, “Yeah. I’ve been pretty consistent with that. Kirk the player is somebody that, as we saw what he does to this team, I thought we were playing really good football before he got injured. It’s the most important position in sports. It ultimately always comes down to can you find an agreement that works for both sides and all those things, but as a player it’s certainly my intention to have him back here.”

from Vikings End
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

“These aren’t new conversations that are happening. Each side kind of understands the other, and we’re going to go have those conversations and see where we end up,” he concluded.

Ergo, it sounds like the Vikings and Cousins want each other back, but Allen offered a cautionary tale about Adofo-Mensah contradicting his own philosophy, especially if Cousins expects to break the bank.

Cousins also said January 8th, “I’m not going to try to sell myself, if you will. I kind of like to let people make their own decisions, because I do think the league needs quarterbacks, and if you’re trying to talk yourself out of a quarterback, then I can’t help you much. The Achilles is going to heal. And it’s on track, and I’m a pocket passer, and there’s a lot of time before next season. For a lot of reasons, it doesn’t concern me, but if I can’t convince other people of that, then that’s OK.”

NFL free agency begins on March 11th with “legal tampering,” and the Vikings should make a decision on Cousins’ future well before.

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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