Vikings Rumors: Cousins Pay Cut, Corner Trade, & Updated FA Targets

We’ve officially transitioned into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are going to be coming fast and furious.

As a result, I’m returning to the “Vikings Rumor Wrangle,” a series I’ve leaned on previously to keep readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss the Cousins pay cut chatter, the possibility of adding a top-tier corner, and the updating free agency landscape.

The Vikings Rumors – 03.01.2023

Rumor #1: Kirk Cousins is Heading for a Pay Cut

Currently, Kirk Cousins has the 6th-largest cap hit in the NFL. That’s a remarkable reality when we consider that most evaluators wouldn’t put him anywhere near the league’s top 10 players.

The $36.25 million cap hit puts Minnesota in a bit of a precarious position financially. Left unchanged, the Vikings won’t be able to go on a major spending spree in free agency. The roster needs a fair amount of work – especially on defense – so getting some financial wiggle room would be nice to see.

Kirk Cousins Will Be a Main Feature in a Netflix Docu-Series
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Forced to guess, I’d say that Cousins gets extended by a couple seasons, a prediction I’ve been consistent about since the season ended. The recent report about Minnesota being reluctant to simply tack on one lonely year further corroborates my hunch.

With all that said, the conclusion: Cousins is very unlikely to take a pay cut. However, it’s very plausible that his 2023 cap number gets reduced due to an extension, thus giving the semblance of a pay cut (at least in the short-term).

Rumor #2: The Vikings Will Trade for Jalen Ramsey (or Another Marquee Corner)

A fan can dream, right?

In reality, a trade is a long shot, as Sizzlin’ Sam and I discussed. The veteran Ramsey is still a sensational player, coming in at 3rd overall in the PFF rankings for corners in 2022. Making things even more impressive is that he didn’t play exclusively on the outside. Ramsey travelled into the slot for 213 snaps and even had 112 snaps in the box. He finished as the top-rated run defender among corners, an indication that the 6’1″, 208 pound corner isn’t afraid to play with physicality.

He had 4 INTs and 18 PDs last year. 62.6% of passes into his coverage were completed. He allowed 5 TDs.

Oct 16, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

What we have, then, is a bit of a tricky situation. There is a clear need at corner and Ramsey is excellent. Kevin O’Connell will know him well from their shared time in LA. The issue, of course, rests in the trade compensation to get him into a purple uniform. Furthermore, there is the lingering need to adjust his deal once getting him to Minnesota.

One other factor before concluding the Ramsey-to-Minnesota talk. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has shown that he isn’t shy about making trades. Criticism may arrive and yet he sticks to his guns (an admirable ability for a GM). The willingness to make controversial, huge moves keeps this trade theory alive.

The Vikings need to clear more than $24 million in cap space just to become cap compliant.

Rumor #3: The NFL Free Agents List is Being Updated

Yes, the free agent list is in near constant flux this time of the year.

‘Tis the season for cuts, restructures, extensions, and trades. Franchise tags will be applied and players will hold out. Rumors and speculation will be shoved into every nook and cranny of the online football discussion.

Oct 25, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) before a fourth quarter field goal attempt by the New Orleans Saints at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As a result, the writers (and fans) who are interested in discussing free agents will need to stay on their toes. Recently, I updated the PurplePTSD top Vikings free agents list to reflect the Daron Payne subtraction and the Bobby Wagner addition.

Next week, look for a more robust top free agents list. The goal is to offer a reasonably well-informed article that gives Vikings fans an authoritative, thoughtful landing spot for their free agency curiosity.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.