NFL, Vikings Free Agency News: Kirk Cousins’ Intentions Clarify, Vikings Have Interest in Star Defender

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve just about arrived, folks. The legal tampering period of free agency begins today at 11 AM Central.

This past weekend, we found out a bunch of NFL and Minnesota Vikings free agency news as the league prepares for the market to officially open up for negotiations. Here is a look at this weekend’s top stories in free agency.

Kirk Cousins Set to Test the Open Market

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

We found out on Sunday that Kirk Cousins and the Vikings would be meeting up that evening to try and nail down a contract that would keep the veteran quarterback in Minnesota. Well, seeing as no deal emerged, it appears that Cousins is set to test the open market.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network all but officially confirmed that sentiment on Sunday evening, tweeting, “The #Vikings and Kirk Cousins remain in communication, but it appears the four-time Pro Bowl QB will test the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET on Monday.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Vikings won’t be able to re-sign Cousins, but if a new deal isn’t in place before Wednesday when his current deal officially voids, they will take on $28.5 million in dead money towards their salary cap this season. Should that happen, it would appear that Minnesota will be trying to clear the veteran QB from their books this season and move on with a new quarterback.

Russell Wilson Is Headed to Pittsburgh

Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson was supposed to be the quarterback to lead the Denver Broncos to their former glory, but the experiment utterly failed over the past two years. The team missed the playoffs in each season, and they finished with a combined 11-19 record in games that Wilson started.

As a result, Denver opted to release Wilson this offseason despite the fact that this move leaves them with $85 million in dead money to account for over the next two years. It appears that Wilson has already found a new home too, with Adam Schefter of ESPN reporting that the QB is signing a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Denver was also a team that had been reported as having interest in Cousins, but on Sunday, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that they would not pursue him as a replacement.

Baker Mayfield Re-Signs with Bucs

Aug 19, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks on against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On the same day that Cousins and the Vikings were unable to agree to a deal, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to work out a new contract with their own quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The former first overall pick headed to Tampa Bay in 2023, and he led them to a third consecutive NFC South title.

That deal was a one-year contract worth $4 million, but now, Mayfield will spend the next three seasons with the Buccaneers on a contract worth $100 million, including $50 million in guarantees. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network had the report this time.

This contract not only keeps Mayfield in Tampa Bay, but it takes another would-be free agent QB off the market. Unless a team is sold that they can turn someone like, say, Gardner Minshew into a starting QB this season, Cousins is easily the top free agent at the position.

DT Chris Jones Inks New Deal with Chiefs

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) celebrates after winning Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Jones seemed like one of the top defenders to hit the open market this week, but that all changed late on Saturday night when Jones signed a record contract to remain with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rapoport had the scoop on Jones’ contract numbers, “Chris Jones’ 5-year deal should make him the NFL’s highest-paid DT at around $32M per year. The first $95M or so are essentially guaranteed, and the final numbers are still being worked out. But a mammoth deal for a mammoth defender as a result of good-faith negotiations.”

Jones, 29, held out of Kansas City’s Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions this season while trying to get a new deal, and now, he remains with the Chiefs for the long term after recording 13 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 16 games last year.

Vikings Expected to Pursue Christian Wilkins

Vikings Free Agency
Nov 5, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) reacts against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half during an NFL International Series game at Deutsche Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the quarterback position needs to be solved for the Vikings this offseason, they also need to shore up the trenches, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Well, they could be looking to do that by pursuing DT Christian Wilkins, who did not receive a long-term deal with the Miami Dolphins and will hit free agency.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reported the news with a tweet on Sunday, “Extremely rich market expected for #Dolphins free agent Christian Wilkins. Among the multiple teams expected to have strong and mutual interest in Wilkins, who has 20 1/2 career sacks, including career-high nine last year, #Texans and #Vikings, per league sources.”

Currently, the Vikings employ just three players at the defensive tackle position, and Wilkins would be a star talent who can take the heat off Minnesota’s edge rushers in the passing game.

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.