The Vikings can’t quit Kirk Cousins.
After some rumors circulated that other teams were inquiring about the Minnesota signal-caller, the team’s new management emphatically put the possibility of a trade to rest, inking Cousins to another extension that will keep him with the Vikings through 2023.
The contract is fully guaranteed and will pay Cousins $40 million in 2022 and $30 million in 2023. The deal also includes voidable years in 2024 and 2025, allowing the Vikings to lower his cap hit in 2022.
The Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman after the 2021 season, replacing them with former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and former Browns VP Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, respectively. There was speculation the new regime would move on from the veteran Cousins, with O’Connell only giving him a lukewarm endorsement at his introductory press conference.
It’s unclear if they engaged in any trade discussions, and cutting him was impossible due to the remaining money due on his contract. Extending him was the team’s best option to relieve their cap other than a trade, and it was ultimately the avenue they went down.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to play for Kevin and could not be more excited about the direction of our team,” Cousins said in a statement. “As soon as we return to TCO Performance Center next month, we will begin working toward our collective goal of bringing a championship to Vikings fans.”
Cousins has put up great numbers since joining the Vikings, having thrown for over 4,200 yards in all but one of his four seasons and throwing 124 touchdowns to 36 interceptions in that span. However, the Vikings have only made the playoffs once of those four years.
The Vikings have now guaranteed Cousins $185 million over six seasons.