Kirk Cousins Addresses Hometown Discount and Future with Vikings

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No question is more important for the organization’s future than the fate of veteran passer Kirk Cousins and the selection of his potential successor in April’s draft. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must decide in the next few weeks if he wants to continue the working relationship or steer the organization in a different direction.

Kirk Cousins Addresses Hometown Discount and Future with Vikings

Kirk Cousins Addresses Hometown Discount and Future with Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The organization and the quarterback will make the decision, as the two parties must find common ground in negotiations if they want to resume the employment. Cousins and his camp have a track record of signing fully guaranteed deals to secure maximum security, and there is no reason to believe that he wants a different structure. Salary, guaranteed money, and contract length will be the main talking points in contract discussions.

One day after the season’s final game, another loss in part because the quarterback was not on the field as he was laboring from his torn Achilles tendon, the QB was available for media questions, and his future status with the Vikings was obviously the main topic.

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He was asked if he would take a hometown discount.

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.

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.

Kirk Cousins

The veteran added that structure is “probably more important than numbers,” and when he was asked to share his definition for ‘structure,’ he said: “Everything that isn’t the dollars. That stuff you also work through.”

Vikings QB Situation
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So, what are we doing with this statement? Well, it shows that Cousins doesn’t want to hunt the next huge paycheck, something in the neighborhood of Joe Burrow’s or Justin Herbert’s absurd salaries. Burrow’s annual salary is $55 million, with 12 passers getting at least $40 million per season. But he still wants guaranteed money and perhaps a certain contract duration.

The comment that it is essential what money represents might mean that his salary shows the organization’s respect for him and that he wants fair compensation, which would undoubtedly be north of those $40 million.

A costly demand, if the speculation is correct. However, he has shown his worth and the ability to rack up huge numbers. When he got hurt, he held the tied league lead in passing touchdowns and ranked second in passing yards, showing the comfort level he had developed within the offense. The good news is that a hometown discount could be in play this time because of age and health.

a Pivotal Vikings
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The QB carousel without him showed the risk the team would take by letting him walk out of the building. However, if the asking price is too much, Adofo-Mensah might just take a look at the draft class and pick his guy, someone who is cheap and guaranteed with the team for four seasons. All the variables turn the QB situation into a total mystery.

Cousins continued the exchange about his future:

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 is confident that his tape speaks for itself, and it surely does. There will be demand for a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in free agency. Every franchise that is a quarterback away will be interested. The Achilles injury is a concern, especially for a 35-year-old. Adofo-Mensah will surely hesitate to give someone a huge contract after a catastrophic injury at that age. But Cousins is also right: pocket passers shouldn’t regress too much because of a leg injury.

Hope to Avoid Doomsday
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It is the most fascinating storyline in the upcoming offseason. The Vikings own the 11th overall pick, which should give them a chance to snatch a decent prospect in the draft, but having a veteran who is comfortable with the offensive scheme has its benefits, especially when that guy is a beloved player in the locker room.

A decision will be made before free agency kicks off in March. Until that point, there will be endless speculations about the situation.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt