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Minnesota Vikings GM: ‘Kirk Cousins is our quarterback’

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Spielman has not been living in a vacuum.

With the early NFL offseason buzz all about quarterbacks either changing teams or wanting a new home address, the Minnesota Vikings general manager insisted Wednesday that his franchise would not be one to hunt for a new signal-caller in 2021.

Kirk Cousins is our quarterback,” Spielman said bluntly on a video call with reporters. “I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well, probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year.”

Cousins, 32, just finished his third season with the Vikings after signing a two-year, $66 million free-agent deal in 2019 after six seasons with Washington. He led Minnesota to the playoffs in his second season, going 10-5 as a starter while throwing for 3,603 yards with 26 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.

Cousins put up arguably better numbers in 2020, with 4,265 passing yards, a career-high 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But the Vikings went just 7-9 in their first losing season since 2014.

Despite the Vikings sporting the NFL’s fourth-rated offense last season, their highest NFL ranking since 2004, Cousins has endured plenty of criticism by those who believe he has not lived up to franchise quarterback money in Minnesota.

“Kirk is our quarterback going forward, and I look forward to him with another year in this system,” Spielman said. “I’m excited for him and what he’s going to bring to our team next year.”

Related: Everything you need to know about the 2021 NFL season

Cousins carries a $31 million salary-cap figure next season, and his $35 million salary for 2022 will be fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster on March 19. That would increase his cap hit to the Vikings to $45 million in 2022.

–Field Level Media