Coming off their best season together yet, one might think the Minnesota Vikings would be in a hurry to sign Kirk Cousins to a contract extension this offseason. Considering the 35-year-old (in August) quarterback is heading into the final year of his contract with the Vikings, some sort of roster move is expected in the next few months.
Cousins finally appeared to break the stigma that he’s simply a .500 QB by going 13-4 in Kevin O’Connell’s first season as head coach while leading the Vikings to the eighth-highest scoring offense in 2022. Teams don’t typically seek change after such a proficient season.
Yet, the Vikings, who are currently $20 million over the 2023 spending limit, must find ways to cut costs this offseason. It’s not an unfamiliar situation for them, as Minnesota has twice worked with the front office, not only to add more financial security on the back end of his deal but also to help lower his cap hit for the upcoming season.
Now, with a massive $36.2 million cap hit in 2023 (sixth-highest in NFL), the Vikings could once again look for a way to shrink that figure in an effort to get under the salary cap.
But, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports, another one-year extension for Cousins is not expected to come this offseason. Instead, Pelissero suggests either a long-term extension for their starting QB or possibly even letting him play out the final year of his contract. We believe the former is much more likely.
Related: Minnesota Vikings reporter suggests All-Pro defender a likely 2023 cap casualty
Don’t expect Kirk Cousins to be cut or traded
For those wondering about a trade, the Vikings would face an $18.7 million cap penalty if Cousins was dealt to another team, but that would also come with a cap savings of $17.5 million, nearly offsetting the loss. Yet, it would leave the Vikings with a gaping hole at the most important position in football, with no clear-cut replacement. Basically, don’t hold your breath.
What appears most likely is another extension. This would offer a cap savings of up to $23 million, getting the Vikings just under the 2023 salary cap, with more moves likely to follow.
Related: Minnesota Vikings have interest in retaining former first round pick with contract extension this offseason