Now, All Things Vikings Turn to One Player.

The Massive Vikings Debate Has Arrived
Lions fans cheer during the Lions' 34-23 win over the Vikings. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Stop if you’ve heard this before.

The Minnesota Vikings’ entire offseason starts with one domino, and his name is Kirk Cousins. The franchise’s decision to re-up with Cousins for a year or two or fully divorce after six seasons will dictate everything about Vikings football, possibly for the next decade or so.

Now, All Things Vikings Turn to One Player.

The Vikings front office and Cousins couldn’t reach an agreement last offseason, reportedly stuck on guaranteed money (or lack thereof) in 2025. So, the two parties scheduled extension talks for this offseason, which is now or in the upcoming weeks.

Turn to One
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Minnesota can re-sign the 35-year-old for a year or two or embark on a brave new world with a rookie. The 2024 NFL Draft is 15 weeks away, and if Cousins is not on the roster and no trades are finagled before the event, the Vikings would essentially be guaranteed to draft a quarterback with the 11th overall pick or trade up the board for a sexier prospect.

Again, though, everything about the Vikings’ offseason — trajectory, salary cap, and overall strategy — starts with Cousins. Will he be back, or won’t he? Vikings fans will ponder that question until it’s answered.

Michael Irvin Was
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Meanwhile, with the 2023 season in the books, some Vikings fans and Vikings-themed media have pivoted to a familiar talker regarding Cousins: Will he play for the cheap? In the past, the answer was always no, but some hold out hope that Cousins will turn into a team-friendly financial humanitarian as he enters his late 30s. Don’t hold your breath.

Cousins told reporters Monday about returning to Minnesota at a reduced price, “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.”

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

The veteran passer has banked optimal and only guaranteed money every step of the way since the start of 2016.

“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,” Cousins continued.

Cousins to NFC
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When the Vikings determine if Cousins will be back at all, for cheap, or venture elsewhere, the competitive rebuild, as defined by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, will veer in the next path.

“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,” Cousins concluded.

In the next month or two, it’s all about Cousins.

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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