All Eyes Turn to 2 Men with Vikings Free Agency 3 Weeks Away

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NFL free agency is exactly three weeks away, as the league kicks off its “legal tampering” period, where free agents can chat with new teams and formulate 2024 plans.

All Eyes Turn to 2 Men with Vikings Free Agency 3 Weeks Away

Overall, the Vikings have 27 free agents scheduled to hit the open market, and in all likelihood, the purple team will retain half or more. That’s just how it usually goes for a team with that many free agents.

But none are more vital than these two men. Minnesota’s offseason, at least the initial part, revolves around these players.

Kirk Cousins

The Vikings did not extend his contract last offseason, unable to meet in the middle for a fair price beyond 2023. However, both sides — the Vikings brass and Cousins’ representation — sounded amicable back then about the pause button, meaning a deal could consummate in the next three weeks.

Turn to 2 Men
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However, since the Vikngs offseason began six weeks ago, Cousins has seemed more willing to depart Minnesota than ever. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote about a would-be Cousins extension in January, “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.

Will NFL Pundits Admit
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Also last month, Pioneer Press Charley Walters 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.”

If that number is accurate — $45 million annually — an extension could be too rich for the Vikings’ blood.

Finally, SI.com’s Albert Breer wrote about the Vikings + Cousins on Monday, “The current MN brass, now going into its 3rd season, really likes Cousins, but it’s also been made clear that they’re not going to go contractually where the previous regime did twice, and give Cousins a fully guaranteed deal.”

Cousins’ return to the Vikings is a genuine coinflip.

Danielle Hunter

Perhaps showcasing a little less mystery but still generally mysterious, Hunter may or may not be back in purple next season.

Defender Still Listed
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Minnesota has two outside linebackers under contract for 2024 as of February 19th. Those men are Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II, neither of whom is classified as a true-blue starter. So, Minnesota must re-sign Danielle Hunter and add another starting EDGE defender — or let Hunter embark on free agency and find two new starting EDGEs.

According to ESPN, Hunter will be “hard to keep” this offseason. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote a bit over a week ago, “The sense I get here in Vegas is that Danielle Hunter will be hard for the Vikings to keep. He will have a very strong market, he turned 29 in October, and several teams had interest at the trade deadline.”

ESPN Has Frightening
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In January, with his future at the forefront of the Vikings’ offseason plans, reporters asked Hunter if we wanted to stay in Minnesota. He replied affirmatively, “Yes, sir.”

“I went out there, did what I was told to do. I was excited about how I played this year,” Hunter said about his performance.

But the four-time Pro Bowler seemed less certain about his return to the Vikings at the Pro Bowl in Orlando two weeks ago. “Just letting everything play its course. I did my job. Everything’s in my agent’s hands and my team — and whomever it is that’s out there. My job, like I said, is to do my job. And I’m gonna make sure I stay in shape, and whatever is best available for me, I’ll take that,” Hunter told NFL.com about his forthcoming free agency.

If one were betting, it may be safer play to assume Hunter will return than Cousins. We shall see. There’s still a chance for two reunions as well.


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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