With the 2017 NFL season officially coming to an end tomorrow, the focus of everything will officially shift to the offseason. The first big piece of the offseason is free agency, and the Minnesota Vikings have a very big question to answer at the most important position on the field. If some of the rumors and speculation that came down the pike yesterday are to be believed, the top available player this offseason at that position just might have an affinity for purple.
According to A.J. Mansour of KFAN, a source with knowledge of the situation told KFAN radio host (and voice of the Vikings) Paul Allen that, all things being equal, Minnesota would be Cousins’ preferred destination.
The Pauls were chatting with Bleacher Report senior writer Master Tesfatsion, formerly of the Washington Post, about Kirk Cousins and how he might fit with the Vikings. Stemming from that conversation, Paul Allen received a text message from what he called an “incredibly well respected opinion” with some VERY interesting information around Kirk’s preference for a landing spot.
The mystery text message read as follows:
”Listening to you, I’m told Cousins has been telling people this week the Vikings are #1 with a bullet on his preference list. If offers are similar he’s taking the Vikings.”
. . .
I’m not sure who this message came from but knowing PA well, it’s a legit source, somebody tied into the situation especially for him to have read it on the radio.
Now, on one hand, we’ve talked a bit about the Vikings salary cap situation and how they have numerous other players, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, that the Vikings are going to need to take care of since they’re heading into the final year of their rookie contracts. There are also teams with a need at quarterback, most notably the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets, that have more available salary cap space than the Vikings do and can throw just about as much money at Cousins as they want.
On the other hand. . .if there’s anybody, anywhere that’s connected to what the Vikings are doing and the news coming out of Winter Park, it’s Paul Allen. Every year PA comes out with stories about what the Vikings’ plans for the offseason are, and every year it turns out that’s exactly what the Vikings do. He was on the team signing offensive tackle Riley Reiff weeks before anyone else was last season, and has had other hits in the past.
I understand that when players say that it “isn’t about the money” that, about 90% of the time, it is actually about the money. However, you would have to think that Kirk Cousins would look at the Vikings and see a team with more offensive talent than he’s had the luxury of having since he came into the NFL. He would have Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at the receiver spot, a steady, productive tight end in Kyle Rudolph, and a difference-maker at running back in the returning Dalvin Cook. The Vikings also figure to continue investing in their offensive line, which took a significant step forward in 2017 and could very well do so again in 2018.
Cousins also said this the other day:
“It’s a pretty short checklist. At the end of the day I want to win,” Cousins said. “I was just talking to Coach Weiss earlier and he made it clear: ‘Hey, go where you can win.’ And that’s exactly what the plan is. … There are a ton of variables that decide whether we think we can win, but that will ultimately be what makes the decision.”
As that article points out, there is quite a bit of variance in the NFL from year-to-year. However, the Vikings will be returning almost everyone from the NFL’s #1 defense next season, and most of those players are under contract for the foreseeable future. If winning football games really is at the top of Cousins’ list of priorities, then there’s no way he can completely ignore the Vikings.
Over the past two years, thanks to the franchise tag, Kirk Cousins has made north of $42 million as the quarterback in Washington. So, who knows? Perhaps he would be willing to take slightly less for an opportunity to win big in Minnesota. Will the Vikings actually make a run at him? Do they see him as a difference-maker and/or enough of an upgrade over Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater to take that plunge?
We’ll find out starting on 12 March, but there will be plenty of speculation between now and then.