Skip to main content

Let's get straight to the point: Adam Schefter said on ESPN Sunday that the Vikings and Kirk Cousins will "figure something out." 

In other words, Schefter is believes that new head coach Kevin O'Connell wants to work with Cousins, who carries a $45 million cap hit entering the final year of his contract with the Vikings in 2022. 

“Kevin O’Connell worked with Kirk Cousins in Washington. Kirk Cousins endorsed Kevin O’Connell for that job. One of the reasons Kevin kind of wants that job is because of Kirk Cousins. There’s a relationship," Schefter said during Sunday's Pro Bowl coverage on ESPN, according to NESN. 

Coller: With new coach and GM in place, it's time for the Vikings to trade Kirk Cousins

O'Connell worked with Cousins in 2017 when he was the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Commanders. That season, Cousins posted the worst passer rating (93.9) and QBR (56.0) of his career as Washington went 7-9 and missed the playoffs. 

But this isn't just about the two apparently wanting to work together. Schefter suggested Cousins could restructure his deal to save money in the short term. 

“So that tells me that Minnesota and Kirk Cousins will figure out something, and maybe come up with a restructured contract that adds years on for Kirk Cousins and gives the Vikings salary cap relief this offseason, to give them more money to spend on other players."

That brings up the question of how the Vikings would retain Cousins. Would they do it by riding out his current contract, which would eat up 20% of the salary cap, which as Purple Insider's Sam Ekstrom recently pointed out, NFL teams never let happen. 

"Historically, teams have never allowed quarterbacks to take up 20 percent of their cap — it never, ever happens — and if Cousins remains at a $45 million cap hit, the Vikings have to get ultra-lean elsewhere. That not only means even less depth, but it could mean cutting ties with veterans that would be useful to have in future years when/if Cousins is gone."

Keeping Cousins at $45 million would likely mean tough decisions with a bunch of big names and big contracts, including Michael Pierce, Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter. Is dumping multiple big names worth keeping Cousins at his current rate, then taking a QB in the first round of the April draft to learn under Cousins for a year? There's a case for it, though it might not be ideal. 

Another option, and perhaps more likely scenario, is extending Cousins. But that only delays the inevitable of getting crushed by his gigantic cap hit in the final year of his deal. And if it's hard to trade him at age 33 and a $45 million cap hit, then imagine how difficult it would be when he's 35 or 36 with what might be an even bigger cap hit.

The Vikings restructured Cousins after the 2019 season when Cousins was scheduled to have a $31 million cap hit. Instead of letting him play out the final season, Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million extension that has put the Vikings in this situation.

The Saints restructured Drew Brees' contract multiple times and the end result is the Saints entering the 2022 season $76 million over the cap (per Spotrac), which gives them basically no chance to contend in 2022 despite having some big stars on the roster. 

With a bullish quarterback market, there's an argument to be made that now is the time to trade Cousins. But if O'Connell wants to work with him, history may repeat itself.

Next Up


APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.


Motorcyclist killed in Ham Lake after passing in the turn lane

The motorcyclist was hit by a car turning onto the road.

Keith Ellison

Minnesota gets cut of Ford settlement over misleading ads

The $19.2 million settlement centers on Ford's C-Max hybrid and Super Duty pickup truck.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School closed for day after threat

District officials say the threat is not believed to be credible.

covid test airport

White House names MN as location for federal test-to-treat COVID sites

Minnesota is one of only five states that will host the pilot project.

Baby owl

The Raptor Center says downward trend holding for avian influenza

A "baby shower" fundraising campaign hopes to help return young raptors to the wild.


Kirk Cousins

Report: Vikings planning to keep Kirk Cousins for 2022

The Vikings will still have to work out Cousins' contract.

Kirk Cousins

Vikings sign Kirk Cousins to one-year extension

The deal will keep him with the Vikings through the 2023 season.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah: 'Everything is on the table' with Kirk Cousins

The Vikings have reportedly met with Cousins' agent (and rookie quarterbacks) at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Kirk Cousins

Extending Cousins means finding answers that haven't been there

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's first major move is to lock up Cousins through 2023, which means he believes he can win where no one else has.

Kirk Cousins

NFL insider: 'A Kirk Cousins trade would not surprise me'

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has made some big Vikings reports this week.

Sean Mannion

Mannion re-signs with Vikings to be Cousins' backup

Mannion was 22-of-36 for 189 yards and a touchdown in his only game last season.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins replaces Aaron Rodgers in the Pro Bowl

Cousins is an injury replacement for Aaron Rodgers.