The Kirk Cousins Decision Seems Destined to Come at the 11th Hour

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few weeks, the Vikings’ negotiations with QB Kirk Cousins have seen a lot of rumors without a ton of substance.

However, the past few days have seen Vikings’ brass (and Cousins himself) get a chance to give a couple updates on the status of the veteran quarterback. The NFL Combine is getting underway this week, and both Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell have gotten a chance to talk about Cousins.

Updates on the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins Decision

Kirk Cousins
Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throws a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost, it remains abundantly clear that the Vikings, particularly O’Connell, want Cousins back in a purple uniform in 2024. Take a look at what O’Connell said of Cousins during his presser on Tuesday:

“We (came) here two years ago and Kirk was a huge reason why I thought so highly about the Minnesota Vikings opportunity. Because of my belief in him. We’ve won a lot of games over these two years with Kirk as our quarterback, and I thought he was playing as well as anybody in the National Football League when he got hurt last year, coming off a Monday night win over the team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl.”

O’Connell continued, “To have that happen, it was a big deal for me, personally. But it’s been awesome to see him through his rehab and where he’s at now, really get right back up on his feet and attack this thing. My feelings on Kirk Cousins, they really have not wavered in two years, and if anything, they’re stronger now, having gone through a lot of adversity together (and) a lot of success as well.”

The Vikings have certainly seen the best of Cousins’ career with O’Connell as his head coach. Cousins has played a grand total of 25 regular season games while coached by O’Connell, and the QB has thrown for 6,878 yards, 47 TDs, and 19 INTs. Over a 17-game pace, that averages out to around 4677 yards, 32 TDs, and 13 INTs. In those games, the Vikings are 17-8.

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

However, this continues to feel like a negotiation that is going to come down to the wire in terms of offering him an extension before he officially hits the free agency market on March 13th. Adofo-Mensah joined Paul Allen of KFAN this week, and he laid out that belief.

“I think it probably will go right down to the deadline. I hope it doesn’t. I don’t like hoping, but as I’ve learned in this league, deadlines do just kind of get people to tighten up I guess and come to that final agreement, so I would expect it maybe to. But again, we’ve had conversations with his representation, we have a great relationship with [Cousins’ agent] Mike [McCartney], and Kirk obviously knows how we feel about him. He knows how he feels about Minnesota, so I’m hoping it won’t be that, but for me to predict would be unwise.”

Cousins will be able to go through the legal tampering period on March 11th and 12th before his contract with Minnesota officially voids, so this is an expected answer from the general manager. The veteran QB is a savvy businessman and likely wants to get a feel for what he is worth on the open market before agreeing to any deal.

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, it appears that the Vikings remain in touch with Cousins and want to bring him back for 2024, but that decision likely will not happen until the final hours before free agency begins.

If Cousins were to hit the open market, it would be an indication that he feels that he can garner a top-dollar guaranteed contract from a team outside of Minnesota. Then, his $28.5 million in dead money would officially go on the books for 2024. In that scenario, it feels unlikely that the Vikings would bring him back considering they also need to consider contracts for other players like Danielle Hunter.

Cousins will turn 36 years old on August 19th.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.