Florio: Vikings Confident Kirk Cousins Can’t Find Greener Grass Outside Minnesota

kirk cousins minnesota vikings
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The entire Minnesota Vikings offseason, so far, has been prepping us for this week at the NFL Scouting Combine. When the regular season ended, we knew negotiations between the Vikings and Kirk Cousins were would probably be sticky.

General manager Kwesi Adofo had seemingly drawn a line in the sand and it appeared Cousins’ camp is of the belief that he can get more. Since, we’ve seen rumors and reports on both sides of the isle and numbers floated from $30 million per year all the way up to $51 million. Kirk wants more “term” and “fully-guaranteed money” which seem to be the two sticking points in talks to this point.

But on Wednesday, ProFootballTalk.com’s founder Mike Florio sat down at the scouting combine with Vikings play-by-play voice Paul Allen where the two friends chopped it up for about 15 minutes on his “Nine to Noon” KFAN Radio show.

Florio has been in Indianapolis for a couple of days and he’s been out and about chatting it up with league executives and others in the know around the NFL. One of Mike’s main missions this week, as a Vikings fan, seems to be finding out what’s happening with the Kirk Cousins situation.

Mike Florio spills beans on Minnesota Vikings plan with Kirk Cousins

Through his Indianapolis sleuthing, Florio believes he’s nailed down Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s thinking, with the Cousins negotiations. He says the Vikings are “confident” that Kirk will NOT find what he is looking for while his agent Mike McCartney shops his services this week at the combine. That, essentially, Cousins will come crawling back to the organization after he realized the grass isn’t greener outside Minnesota.

(Cousins talk begins around the 21-minute mark — Transcript below)

“My assessment of the situation is, [the Vikings] have a number that they are willing to extend, and that if Kirk Cousins is able to find anything else that he likes better, he is free to take it. They are very clear eyed about it, they are very confident.

They use the phrase, Kevin [O’Connell] did a couple of times, ‘[Kirk Cousins] has earned the right to bet on himself’ and they believe that when the time comes for [Kirk] to go see what else is out there, he will learn that whatever else is out there is not better. That the grass will not be greener in Atlanta or Las Vegas or back in Washington.”

Mike Florio – KFAN Radio with Paul Allen

Grass won’t be greener for Kirk on other side of NFL scouting combine?

What does Mr. ProFootballTalk mean when he says ‘the grass won’t be greener’ for Kirk Cousins? Well, most of it seems to come down to a lack of options. Much like the last time he was a free agent, landing spots seem to be more limited than what many seem to assume.

Related: Vikings Crush NFLPA Player Team Rankings Again but Fall Off Top Spot

Florio is hearing that potential landing spots like Washington and Las Vegas won’t be as soft as expected. He’s even hearing that the Pittsburgh Steelers plan to run it back with Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph for another season, instead of handing the reins to an outside-the-organization veteran like Cousins.

“I don’t think Pittsburgh [is happening]. Some people I was talking to last night [say the Steelers] really are gonna do this Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph thing, as crazy as it sounds. That’s what I get the impression is what they’re going to do.”

“Look, when [Kirk Cousins] was a free agent six years ago, 29 years old and healthy, it was the Vikings and Jets [who were interested]. That’s it, the Vikings and the Jets. So now he’s 35, coming off a torn achilles tendon and once you pop one, you’re more likely to pop the other one. So who’s gonna be out there?”

Mike Florio – KFAN Radio with Paul Allen

But what about Atlanta?

Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings
Photo: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta? That’s been the hot spot rumor for some time now. Problem is, it sounds like the Falcons could complete a deal with the Chicago Bears any moment to acquire Justin Fields. And it’s not just Mike Florio who’s reporting the Fields to Atlanta steam.

Related: ESPN Expert Jordan Reid Reveals Likely Vikings Defensive Draft Targets

DraftKings had to take the futures bet off their board because so many people were betting on the Falcons to land Fields. Should the Atlanta domino fall, Florio believes we could see the Vikings plan of waiting out Kirk Cousins start to unfold in real time as his options start to fall off the board one after another.

PA: “But now you mentioned that with Pittsburgh and and I had not thought of that or heard that. Well, if Justin fields gets traded to Atlanta, which I would make them favored”…”I mean, if Justin [Fields goes to Atlanta] and Pittsburgh wants to do this [Rudolph + Pickett] thing, [Cousins] is gonna run out of options.”

Florio: Right, and I think that’s what [the Vikings] are counting on.”

Mike Florio – KFAN Radio with Paul Allen

Florio then riffs for a little bit on how Kwesi needs to be careful during this process with Cousins. That he cannot assume Kirk won’t up and move to another city, if he feels disrespected or if the Vikings overplay the whole, ‘my kids are already in school in Minnesota and my family is already comfortable’ card.

In fact, he says he has gotten tips that Kirk and Julie have already scoped out schools and neighborhoods in Atlanta, should he end up there. But in the end, Mike comes back to the same thought. If Atlanta trades for Fields, Kirk could be facing a return to Minnesota with his tail between his legs..

Florio: “It would be foolish to assume that Kirk and Julie Cousins haven’t already scoped out everything that they would be doing in Atlanta, including the school. I’m in a position where I get all sorts of crazy tips from people. Some of the tips I’ve gotten is they’ve already been down there and they know exactly where the kids would go to school if Atlanta is the place.”

PA: “Yeah, well [the Cousins’] absolutely have [scoped things out already].”

Florio: “But if they go Justin fields then it doesn’t matter. And I got the impression from hearing Raheem Morris, the new head coach of the Falcons yesterday, that it is going to be Justin Fields.”

If you don’t believe Mike Florio, and some certainly will not, then maybe you’ll soften a bit when you read the quote that came out of Kwesi-Adofo Mensah, on the same KFAN radio station, earlier in PA’s show.

Related: Vikings Meet Formally with LSU QB Jayden Daniels at NFL Scouting Combine

Kwesi-Adofo Mensah hinting that Florio may be right?

That’s when the Vikings GM talked about how he expects the negotiations with Kirk Cousins to go all the way to the very last moment, which is expected to be March 13, right before his $28.5 million dead cap penalty would hit the books if there is no new deal. This sure makes it seem like the front office is waiting for Kirk to shop around until he comes to the realization that, like Florio said, the grass isn’t greener on other teams’ fields.

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