Vikings Turned Down Kirk Cousins’ Discount Extension Offer

The Minnesota Vikings had a decision to make this offseason, in regards to what their future will look like at the quarterback position. They could commit to 34-year-old Kirk Cousins beyond 2023, or they could keep their options open and explore possibilities via upcoming drafts, trade or, even, free agency.

Vikings choose flexibility over Kirk Cousins

There were a lot of variables in that decision, money being the most obvious. Cousins was set to count $40+ million against the salary cap in the final year of his contract and the Vikings were tens of millions of dollars over the cap threshold, entering the offseason.

One way or another, they had to address Kirk’s cap number. But instead of mimicking what they’ve done in off-seasons past, extending Cousins and committing to future years in order to bring his immediate cap hit down, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose to add more void years to the end of his current deal, which allowed them to keep their options open after the 2023 season.

kirk cousins minnesota vikings contract discount
Photo: Scott Taetsch – Getty Images

Most thought the Vikings’ decision not to extend Kirk Cousins had to do with the market value contract he was probably demanding. After all, there isn’t a quarterback in NFL history who has maximized his worth better than Cousins, who — through multiple franchise tags, short contracts and an iron-man track record — has made over $200 million during his 11-year career.

If Daniel Jones was able to get $40 million per season, then there was little doubt Kirk would ask for the same, if not more. And that’s something the Vikings wouldn’t be able to afford, if they wanted to pay Justin Jefferson (they do) and roster a competitive team around him.

Vikings turn down a Kirk Cousins discount

In the latest episode of the Star Tribune’s “Access Vikings” podcast, however, insider Andrew Krammer reported that Cousins was willing to give the Vikings a discount, as long as they would commit to him for the next three seasons (through 2025).

Unfortunately, Krammer doesn’t mention the exact dollar figure that was floated to the Vikings, by Cousins’ team, but the discount was significant enough that they were surprised when Kwesi & Co didn’t jump on the clearance opportunity to latch onto Kirk long-term.

“I had also heard that he wasn’t asking for $40 [million]. He wasn’t asking for that much, in terms of what Daniel Jones got, who is obviously much younger but much less accomplished. Cousins’ camp was kind of surprised I guess, from what I heard, at the Vikings not jumping or at least accepting what they were asking for.”

Andrew Krammer – Access Vikings Podcast
Vikings seeking “financial hack” of rookie QB

It wasn’t the dollar figure that scared Kwesi & Co this time around. It was the term. Minnesota wasn’t willing to give Cousins a fully-guaranteed 2025 season. At that point in his career, Kirk will be 37-years-old and the Vikings didn’t want to commit to him at that age.

Instead, according to Krammer’s colleague and podcast partner, Ben Goessling, the Vikings seem enamored with the “financial hack” of a starting QB still on his rookie deal.

“[The Vikings] haven’t had this idea of a young quarterback on a rookie contract for a long time and I think there is some intrigue in the building with that idea. What would it look like if we had this kind of financial hack of paying a starting quarterback $7-$8 million a year, rather than $30 [million], and we’re getting that level of production. If you get that guy right, that’s a big if, but if you get it right, that certainly is intriguing to some of the people in that building.”

Ben Goessling – Access Vikings Podcast

If Cousins was willing to play for, say, $30 million per season and the Vikings turned him down, the writing is probably on the wall. Kirk will play out the final year of his deal and, barring any significant developments in that time, move on after the 2023-24 season.

The NFL Draft begins on April 27 and it’s looking more and more like Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will take their first gamble at drafting the most important position in all of sports.

Here is the entire Access Vikings podcast episode. The discussion surrounding Kirk Cousins begins at the 17-minute mark.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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