Predictions for Vikings’ Big 3 Offseason Dominoes

Kirk Cousins on Release of Dalvin Cook & What He Sees In New-Look Defense During Minicamp. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center during 2023 NFL Mandatory Minicamp.

The Minnesota Vikings offseason has and will continue to be dominated by three players until each situation is sorted out. The trio includes Kirk Cousins, Danielle, Hunter, and Justin Jefferson. Only one of them is under contract, but it is possible that none will be by Week 1 of 2024.

Predictions for Vikings’ Big 3 Offseason Dominoes

There is no more important position in sports than that of an NFL quarterback. What happens with Kirk Cousins will ultimately be decided by March 13. That decision should and will likely have a cascading effect with ripples that impact the rest of the roster. A decision on his ultimate payday will also affect the other two members of this group.

So, what happens? Here’s my stab:

Kirk Cousins Returns

Big 3 Offseason
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this offseason, I thought Minnesota should make a best and final offer to Cousins of two years and $60 million. They could have made that fully guaranteed, and it still looks like it would come up a bit short. Because the signal-caller is always looking to pad his pocketbook first, he will get something like $40 million annually.

Minnesota hopes to make it a two-year deal with full guarantees or go three years and have the third year open for debate. No matter what, the franchise should still draft a quarterback in the first two rounds this season, but this would give that player time to learn behind a veteran starter.

Danielle Hunter Lands Elsewhere

Curveball for Danielle
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a great thing for Hunter that he put up career-best numbers in a contract year. He came into the season and asked for more money, then backed it up by performing at his peak. That probably priced Minnesota out of his services for the year ahead, and unlike Cousins, he has a history of injury issues.

Paying a premium for Hunter’s services only to not have him on the field would be catastrophic and not something this roster can withstand. That leaves the edge rusher position bare for Brian Flores, but it’s a place Minnesota can target in the draft, and there are more than a few available free agents that fit the bill.

Make Justin Jefferson a Top 15 Paid Player

Only Stir the Pot
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

If the goal for Jefferson were to simply top Tyreek Hill’s $30 million annually as the highest-paid wide receiver, the deal would already be done. He’s clearly looking for top-player-in-the-league type of money, and it’s warranted. He’s not going to get paid at the level of the five or six biggest quarterback deals, but he should argue to beat both Nick Bosa and Aaron Donald’s yearly outlays.

That would put him north of $34 million a season, and it’s not inconceivable that he’d look for the $37.5 million given to Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr. It will cost a lot, but there is no better non-quarterback in the NFL, and Jefferson is basically establishing his price point.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.