Kirk Cousins Clarifies Timeline on His Decision to Stay or Go

Kirk Cousins has been chatting with the media. Along the way, the QB has clarified when he intends to reach a contract resolution.

Consider, for instance, what he had to say within the Bill Belichick rumor dust up. He not only confirmed some desire to work with the coach — should the opportunity arise — but then said when it could happen: “I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame coach. But we’ll have to see where March leads, it’s just a lot of unknowns right now.”

Reaction to Vikings Win over Patriots
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell shake hands after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Upon first glance, the nod toward March shouldn’t be super surprising. After all, that’s when free agency is going to arise, so there will be plenty of NFL players looking to sign contracts around that time.

The only odd part is simply that there’s nothing stopping the Vikings and Cousins from coming to an extension now. As a current employee of the Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins can negotiate with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the rest of the team’s front office. Instead, there looks to be a willingness to wait.

Kirk Cousins and The March Contract Talks

The aforementioned CBS Sports interview with Isabel Gonzalez isn’t the only time that #8 has pointed toward his timeline.

Last week, Cousins spoke with Rob Maaddi of AP News. He said that the goal is to be ready to go by OTAs: “But 7-on-7, there’s nobody around you. It’s a safe drill. So at a minimum, I would think that’s a drill that, as a pocket-passing quarterback, would be very doable. And that’s kind of the beauty of the Achilles injury is that you can get back and you can get going again in a way that isn’t as crippling as if it was a back injury or something that’s a little more critical, like your shoulder or your elbow.”

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Very likely, Mr. Cousins is being intentional with revealing that tidbit in the media. Doing so helps to assure interested teams that he’ll be capable of putting in a nearly full offseason.

And then there was the revelation during one of Minnesota’s final football games. During the Sunday Night Football game broadcast in Week 17, NBC’s Melissa Stark revealed that Cousins’ plan is to be running by February. He plans on getting video of his movements so that he can circulate the film to teams ahead of free agency. Clearly, Cousins isn’t going to just accept whatever offer Kwesi Adofo-Mensah puts in front of him. Clearly, Cousins doesn’t mind publicly broadcasting that he’ll be flirting with interested NFL teams in free agency.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts after a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

And then there was the January 19th conversation with Ryan Gaydos of Fox News. Cousins has a certain month in mind for when he’ll sign: “We’ll see when we get to March, how everything shakes out. But I think until then, it’s just waiting until March.”

Again, keep in mind that Cousins is allowed to negotiate with the Vikings. Coming to a contract with someone outside of Minnesota needs to wait until March since external players are still employees of other teams. The same issue doesn’t exist for someone like Brandon Powell, Dalton Risner, K.J. Osborn, Danielle Hunter, and plenty of other Vikings. Cousins is among them.

And when the new league year begins in March, all of the league’s free agents will officially be allowed to jump into negotiations since they’re, well, free agents.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) tries to get past Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) to sack quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Waiting until March does have some benefits for both the team and the player.

Adofo-Mensah will have had more time to work alongside his staff to fully understand the team’s budget and work out their plan of attack. Ideally, Justin Jefferson will have come to his extension. Cousins, meanwhile, may have a clearer sense of prospective landing spots. If, for instance, a team with some possible uncertainty at QB re-ups with their in-house solution, then that could be understood as one less option for Mr. Cousins.

Prior to injury, Kirk Cousins was playing the best football of his career. Yes, the statistics were excellent, but even more important is that those statistics were helping his team get back into the win column. The Vikings were sitting at 4-4 when he needed to begin recovering from his Achilles tear.

Keeping him for the next couple years looks to be the wise move for a roster that’s not far from the playoffs.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.