3 Hints Suggest Kirk Cousins Won’t Be Back with Vikings

Kirk Cousins Is Exuding Leadership  
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The Minnesota Vikings’ foremost mystery plops quarterback Kirk Cousins front and center. The veteran passer is scheduled to hit free agency in less than six weeks if no extension is reached with the team’s front office.

3 Hints Suggest Kirk Cousins Won’t Be Back with Vikings

As of January 31st, it’s an honest-to-goodness coinflip on whether Cousins returns to the Vikings for a seventh season. No Vikings fan would be shocked by either outcome.

3 Hints Suggest
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Minnesota’s 2023 season ended 24 days ago, and since then, a mini-odyssey has accompanied the central questions regarding Cousins: “Will he stay or leave?” Recently, however, a few hints suggest Cousins may, alas, depart the franchise and hit open free agency for the first time in six years. These are the hints.

1. Structure, Not Money, Most Important for Cousins

The Vikings 4 Realistic
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote about a would-be Cousins extension on Tuesday, “The team’s key decision-makers are on record saying they will try to get Cousins re-signed, and the quarterback has said he wants to finish his career in Minnesota. The outcome likely will hinge on whether the Vikings are willing to give Cousins, who turns 36 in the summer, multiple fully guaranteed years in his new deal. That seems a 50-50 proposition at best.”

“Multiple fully guaranteed years in his new deal” is the takeaway, per ESPN’s reporting.

Earlier this month, reporters asked Cousins what was most important to him via his next contract. He replied, “Structure is probably more important” and that “everything that isn’t the dollars [is] stuff you also work through.”

The verdict? Through the hints, it seems like the Vikings might prefer a one-year deal, and Cousins wants more.

2. The Belichick Tip of the Cap

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick walks off the field at Ray Nitschke Field following joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. August 17, 2023. © Kassidy Hill / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For about a week, the NFL world thought Bill Belichick would become the Atlanta Falcons’ next coach. But Atlanta swerved and hired Raheem Morris from the Los Angeles Rams.

Yet, before the Morris hire, CBS Sports’ Isabel Gonzalez asked Cousins if he’d play for Bill Belichick, and his answer was surprisingly straightforward. “I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame coach, but we’ll have to see where March leads, there’s just a lot of unknowns right now,” Cousins replied.

Cousins normally swats away theoretical questions about other teams with replies like, “I’m just focused on the Vikings.” He didn’t with Gonzalez, suggesting some posturing for his Vikings afterlife.

The man is at least open to playing elsewhere, if only for a Hall of Fame coach.

3. The Pioneer Press Reporting

Season Be Remembered
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Pioneer Press Charley Walters recently wrote about Cousins’ upcoming free agency, “The buzz now is that it will take $90 million guaranteed for two years, despite that he’s still not yet fully recovered from Achilles surgery in November, to sign free agent QB Kirk Cousins. If that’s the case, he certainly won’t get that from the Vikings.”

Ergo, here we are, realizing that Cousins probably won’t accept a “hometown discount” that fans have dreamed about for the last four weeks. The man never takes team-friendly deals, and the Walters reporting is more on par with classic Cousins business acumen.

Fans talked themselves into believing Cousins might “play for cheap” this season, which was probably just best-laid pans that lacked realism.

If Walters’ reporting is accurate — the buzz — Minnesota may not oblige Cousins’ two-year, $90 million asking price. That’s rather rich for a quarterback who will turn 36 in August — returning from a serious injury.

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.