Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Updates Mindset on Cousins Extension

Nothing is more significant in Minnesota’s offseason than the Vikings’ decision at quarterback. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can extend Kirk Cousins’ contract, continuing the course of having the veteran steering the ship. But he could also pivot towards a rookie under center, and finally, he could do both and have the young passer learn behind the four-time Pro Bowler.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Updates Mindset on Cousins Extension

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Updates Mindset on Cousins Extension
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Cousins joined the Vikings franchise in 2018 and has been the starting quarterback ever since. He has produced massive numbers and is annually either heading to the Pro Bowl or is close to getting an invite after usually throwing for close to 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.

But with that comes a hefty price tag, too high for many fans, although it should be noted that the quarterback market exploded in recent years, and Cousins’ once-huge salary of $35 million is nowadays an average payment.

For the first time since signing in Minnesota, he is scheduled to be a free agent as both former GM Rick Spielman and his successor have always made sure to have him locked a season in advance.

Are All the Vikings Draft
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah was asked at his season-ending press conference about the future of the quarterback:

Yeah. I’ve been pretty consistent with that. Kirk the player is somebody that, as we saw what he does to this team, I thought we were playing really good football before he got injured. It’s the most important position in sports. It ultimately always comes down to can you find an agreement that works for both sides and all those things, but as a player it’s certainly my intention to have him back here.

These aren’t new conversations that are happening. Each side kind of understands the other and we’re going to go have those conversations and see where we end up.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Adofo-Mensah is the latest Vikings employee to state his fondness for the veteran passer. Multiple players have come out to endorse a contract extension in the last few weeks. Justin Jefferson has always made clear how much he benefits from a solid player throwing him the ball, and Brian O’Neill’s message was perhaps the most heartfelt.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

From a locker room standpoint, there is no question that the Vikings should continue the working relationship with the 35-year-old. But there are some reasons to break the bond: age, health, and money.

There’s a lot of factors that go into these things. It’s age, injury, but it’s also performance. How do you believe the performance will go? And there’s different examples through time and obviously you have to pay attention to the person and what he puts into his body and how regimented and detailed he is. All those factors go into it but at the end of the day you’re just taking risk. We try to measure it as best we can and protect ourselves and ensure against it, but on his side he’s trying to take less risk. That’s his job and they should do that. We’ll try to find a place in the middle and we’ll see where we end up.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Vikings must predict whether or not Cousins will hit a wall at some point in the near future. A lower-leg injury usually doesn’t affect pocket passers too much, but the torque he requires to have decent arm strength comes partly from the legs.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In addition, there are multiple examples of solid quarterbacks who, at some point, just lose their arm and struggle to throw deep. It is impossible to predict if that will happen to Cousins as early as 2024 or if he has another half dozen years remaining, but that is the risk Adofo-Mensah mentioned.

The cited protection against that risk is giving him a short contract or limiting the guarantees beyond the first year or two. This is likely where the two parties will disagree, and if they can’t find common ground, the contract structure is the most plausible disagreement rather than the compensation.

Regardless of the final decision, the Vikings will remain a team predicted to address the QB position in the draft, making the offseason exciting.

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