Vikings, Cousins Appear Stuck on One Contract Item

Should Kirk
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings’ leaders have said for months that they would like quarterback Kirk Cousins back for a seventh season.

Vikings, Cousins Appear Stuck on One Contract Item

Unsurprisingly, Cousins has personally echoed the same sentiment. So, meeting in the middle should be fairly straightforward, right? One would think — but the two parties appear stuck on one crucial hinge: Contract length.

Cousins Appear Stuck
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Cousins will turn 36 before the 2024 regular season kicks off and is recovering from a torn Achilles, a major injury. Left up to the Vikings front office, Cousins’ contract length is likely the shorter, the better. Make him prove it could be the mindset. Conversely, Cousins has always banked on contract structure in the form of guaranteed cash for more than one season at a time. He never signs monster deals spanning years but instead locks down meaty contracts for 2-3 seasons.

Well, that’s where the divide emerges. At 36, Cousins may want more than one year front and center with his new deal. It’s best for the Vikings’ budget and planning to jaunt from year to year, ensuring Cousins’ skillset doesn’t diminish and that his Achilles recovery is in tip-top shape.

Brace Hemmelgarn-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 key point.

Lottery Ticket QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

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.”

Therefore, nobody in the Cousins’ extension discussion appears turned off by the annual pricetag; it’s the length.

Have the Vikings Paid Kirk
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said at the team’s year-end press conference after the season ended that his job, among several duties, is to “protect” the Vikings. And safeguarding his franchise from spending too much on an aging quarterback fits the criteria.

If Adofo-Mensah doesn’t re-sign Cousins, or even if he does, the club will need a quarterback in April. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Round 1.

Keep an eye on the structure for Cousins. That’s where it all begins and ends.


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.

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