The Minnesota Vikings are reigning NFC North champions and entering an offseason that will have long-term ramifications for their future. As the franchise evaluates its entire roster, with needs across the board, quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ outlook is being spotlighted.
Cousins will return in 2023 as the Vikings’ starting quarterback, but everything beyond that is uncertain. The 34-year-old is in the last year of his contract and could hit the open market in 2024 with an opportunity to cash in one last time.
- Kirk Cousins contract: $36.25 million cap hit (2023)
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As the 2023 NFL Draft quarterback prospects are evaluated, there is growing debate regarding the Vikings potentially drafting their quarterback of the future. Similar to strategies used previously by the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota could spend an early pick on a signal-caller to develop. As that development happens behind the scenes, Cousins takes the field in 2023.
However, another option seems to be on the table. As covered in-depth by Vikings’ reporter Alec Lewis of The Athletic, Minnesota could pursue a contract extension with Cousins this offseason.
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Currently, $24 million over the 2023 NFL salary cap, the Vikings’ starting quarterback carries the largest cap hit on the roster. In comparison, veteran wideout Adam Thielen carries a $19.967 million cap charge for next season, a figure Minnesota will address this spring.
- Kirk Cousins stats (2022): 92.5 QB rating, 4,547 pass yards, 29-14 TD-INT, 13-4 record
A contract extension with Cousins would create significant short-term cap space and it would keep the four-time Pro Bowl selection in Minnesota through at least the 2024 season. It would follow the same approach the Vikings’ front office has taken with Cousins in recent years, keeping him in place on short-term deals.
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If a multi-year extension is pursued, likely a length of no more than two seasons, Minnesota could still spend one of its top picks on a developmental quarterback. In this scenario, the Vikings will have both short- and long-term solutions at the most important position in football.
Considering the franchise’s need for immediate financial relief to fill out the roster and add multiple starters, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cousins signs a contract extension with the Vikings later this offseason.