Mistake No. 5
Overpaying to keep Kirk Cousins
With several weeks until the start of the league year, it’s clear the Vikings want Kirk Cousins to return next season. It’s also clear that Cousins is bullish on the idea of returning to Minnesota.
But while both sides have a willingness to make a deal work, it might take a deal that could wind up outside of their price range.
Cousins expressed to media members in his end-of-season interview that he enjoys playing in Minnesota and his family enjoys the community.
Before Cousins fans draft up his next contract, he also mentioned that his top priority is winning and had an ominous quote when it came to negotiating a new deal.
“It’s not about the dollars, but it’s about what the dollars represent,” Cousins said. “There will always be some of that, but at today’s point, structure is probably more important.”
This popped up last offseason when the Vikings and Cousins couldn’t come to terms on a new extension.
A report from the Star Tribune’s Andrew Krammer suggested that Cousins was willing to take less money in a contract extension but also wanted his 2024 and 2025 salaries fully guaranteed.
Minnesota balked, opting to have Cousins enter the final year of his contract, and a tough series of events followed.
Cousins tore his Achilles’ in an October 29 win over the Green Bay Packers, and they rode a quarterback carousel featuring Josh Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall as they finished the season by losing six of their final nine games.
The way last season ended prompted some to believe that the Vikings should bring back Cousins no matter what, but that could be a dangerous idea.
With Minnesota not having the supporting cast around him, a big-money, fully guaranteed deal like the ones Cousins has signed in the past could handcuff the Vikings to fill those holes and lead them to rely on the draft to fill them.
That’s a tough task for any general manager, and it emphasizes the risk of paying Cousins again.
If Cousins isn’t willing to meet Minnesota's terms, it might be best to let him walk away and find a new quarterback this offseason.