Kirk Cousins + Vikings Negotiations Heating Up as Falcons Wait Impatiently

Kirk Cousins Atlanta Falcons Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings and Kirk Cousins were as good as broken up, earlier this week. In recent days, however, the mood has started to shift again. It started Friday when NFL insiders starting floating 2 years, $100 million fully guaranteed contract offers. Ever since, the steam pushing Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons has cooled.

Not only that, but it appears contract extension negotiations between the Vikings and Kirk have reached a new level of intrigue. Leading into the weekend, Jeremy Fowler (ESPN) reported that the two sides did plan on negotiating before the legal tampering window opens on Monday at 11 AM CDT, in a last-ditch effort to put #8 back in purple.

Kirk Cousins extension talks heating up…?

But Fowler’s ESPN colleague, Dan Graziano, pushed those reports even further on Sunday morning when he wrote this, regarding where extension talks currently stand between Kirk and the Vikings.

If you’re already picturing Kirk Cousins in a Falcons uniform, you might be jumping the gun. As of the end of this week, Cousins and the Vikings were still talking, and while Minnesota hasn’t gotten its offer to the point Cousins wants it, I get the sense the Vikings are still very much in this thing.

Dan Graziano – ESPN

Why the sudden change? Well, other than the Falcons’ apparent sticker shock, it seems we needed a reminder that Atlanta isn’t the only U.S. location where the Cousins’ family feels comfortable. Yes, his wife Julie may be from the ATL, but she hasn’t lived there in over a decade.

Instead, she and Kirk have spent the better part of that time building their family in the southeast suburbs of the Twin Cities, where their oldest son Cooper has now started school. Oh, and as I have pointed out in the past, the Minnesota Vikings have a better team than the Atlanta Falcons.

Reminder: Minnesota Vikings > Atlanta Falcons

kirk cousins justin jefferson minnesota vikings
Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Raheem Morris coached in Washington when Cousins was there and his new squad has some impressive young talent at running back, along with a young tight end who should be a lot better than he is. Oh, and Drake London is a nice piece too. But have we suddenly forgotten that nobody cares about running backs anymore? Ask Saquon Barkley about that. Or that (spoiler), Drake London can’t hold Justin Jefferson’s jock strap?

Related: Signing Christian Wilkins is Reportedly a Top Priority for Vikings

The Falcons don’t have Brian O’Neill or Christian Darrisaw to protect Cousins on each side, either. Jordan Addison, we’ve got one. A top tight end, we have that too, even if he’ll be injured to start the season. And as I’ve mentioned, running backs are a dime per dozen (not to mention our head coach hates calling run plays anyway).

Does the defense need to improve? Yes. Can they do it while still bringing Kirk back? For the 701st time, yes they can. We’ve been trying to tell you that for months. In other words, life isn’t so bad up here for Kirk Cousins, both professionally and personally… and he knows it.

Cousins likes it there. His family likes it there. He’s playing for an outstanding playcaller in Kevin O’Connell and throwing to one of the best receivers in the league in Justin Jefferson. The fans like him. There’s no question it’s his team. He could absolutely leave if he doesn’t get what he wants in a contract, and Atlanta lurks as a possible — even likely — destination if that happens. But until the league year opens, the Vikings still have a shot to keep him off the market.

Dan Graziano – ESPN

Per usual, it’s going to come down to money and how much of it the Minnesota Vikings are willing to guarantee over the next two seasons. It was reported that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was curious to see what Kirk would get from another team on the open market and now they have a better idea.

Minnesota Vikings have until Monday afternoon to stop Kirk’s shopping window

So, they are back at the negotiating table and the two sides appear much closer than they were, prior to this weekend. None of this means a deal is imminent yet, though. Did you miss Fowler? Graziano’s aforementioned co-worker weighed in on the Cousins’ situation too, echoing Graziano’s report, while also pushing how real the Falcons’ interest still is.

The Vikings are still in the game for Cousins. One team source said, “We’re not out of it,” while another told me it feels like a 50-50 proposition. Atlanta has remained a major threat, and that hasn’t changed. He is believed to be the Falcons’ No. 1 target, with owner Arthur Blank motivated to solve Atlanta’s quarterback issues. The sense is Minnesota wants to re-sign Cousins but will have its limits after paying him $185 million over the past six years. And the Vikings have considered the possibilities should Cousins leave and could use both free agency and the draft to fill the void.

Jeremy Fowler – ESPN

Related: Vikings Expected to Target Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold if Kirk Cousins Walks

Obviously, it seems much more likely that a new deal could happen before 11 AM tomorrow morning. But even if it doesn’t, hope is not dead (for those who want Kirk back) until Wednesday at 3 PM CDT, when Cousins is currently scheduled to hit free agency, which is when his dead cap penalty of $28.5 million would hit the Vikings’ 2024-25 salary cap.

Cousins’ decision could come by end of day Sunday

According to a new report from Dianna Russini (The Athletic), we could know more about Cousins’s plans by the end of today, when she is reporting that Kirk is expected to get back to the Vikings on whether or not he plans to partake in the legal tampering window or if he’s going to pursue a deal with Minnesota before we even get to Monday.

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