The $31 Million Trade Off

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

With a 2022 cap hit that exceeds $31 million, Kirk Cousins will come in at the 4th-highest cap charge in the NFL.

Players like Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and Matt Stafford all have a higher annual average. Boiling things down to just the 2022 season, though, puts Minnesota’s QB1 – the polarizing Kirk Cousins – at the #4 spot in the entire league.

Therein lies the key, folks: as we’ve discussed on here, the Vikings really value having flexibility after the 2022 and 2023 seasons. If things go really well, the team will probably look to reload to keep contending. If things go really poorly, the team will get stripped down as it pivots toward a new direction.

The trade off, then, is one where Kirk Cousins takes a huge cap hit within the context of 2022 contract numbers around the NFL. Next year, his hit rises to $36.25 million, but his overall ranking drops. Currently, he’s the 6th in the overall QB contract rankings. It wouldn’t be shocking to see one or two others catapult themselves ahead of KC before the opening snap of the 2023 season.

Fans can certainly disagree with the leadership’s decision to keep Kirk around. So much of their rationale, though, was tied up in the mandate to compete in the immediate. This roster and coaching staff needs to show that they don’t have what it takes. If they do, then change will follow.


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