NFL Rumors: Minnesota Vikings May Extend Quarterback Cousins

The Minnesota Vikings may have no choice but to commit to one more year of the Kirk Cousins experience. According to the Athletic's Alec Lewis, the Vikings may be required to extend the Pro Bowl quarterback in order to acquire some much-needed cap relief.

Per, the Vikings are presently approximately $23.5 million over the 2023 salary cap of $224.8 million. Cousins sports a $36.25 cap hit, and a release wouldn't provide any relief. The fastest and simplest way to clear space would be to extend Cousins, spreading out his money over multiple seasons. However, committing to Cousins long-term might mean yet another season of wheel-spinning for the Vikings.

The Vikings acquired Cousins in 2018 following a 13-3 regular season and an NFC Championship game appearance in 2017. Despite his respectable individual numbers with the team (100.9 passer rating, 261.7 passing yards per game), the Vikings have been caught on a treadmill of mediocrity since his arrival, winning 58.8% of their games and only one of their three playoff games. Despite excellent play from four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook and star wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen, the Vikings have ranked between eighth and 19th in points scored in all five of Cousins' seasons.

Cousins exemplifies an increasingly common issue for NFL franchises: he is clearly an above-replacement-level quarterback, but his relatively low ceiling caps his team's championship prospects. As quarterback play becomes more and more important every year, making up for a player of his calibre with the rest of the roster becomes increasingly difficult. That being said, finding an obvious upgrade is no easy task. Unless the Vikings strike gold in the draft, they're likely stuck with Cousins until his skills erode.    

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