Kirk Cousins is signed only through the coming season and the presumption is Vikings management will let things play out to decide about future interest in the 34-year-old quarterback. But a former pro football authority isn’t so sure and thinks it’s “50-50” an extension could be agreed to between now and the team’s first regular season game September 10 in Minneapolis.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened before the season since they didn’t draft anybody high and he’s still to me a top 10 to 12 quarterback in the league,” said the ex-NFL team executive who spoke to Sports Headliners on condition of anonymity.
The Vikings drafted Brigham Young QB Jaren Hall in the fifth-round last month. How he will develop is unknown, but odds are that even in a best-case scenario he won’t be ready to succeed Cousins in 2024.
Cousins earns $35 million this year before pending free agency in 2024. A one- or two-year extension is likely to pay him $40 to $45 million annually.
The source referenced here said the Vikings may be taking a wait-and-see approach on the veteran’s performance during the coming season. “But where are they going to find someone better than him?” he asked.
While Cousins likely will be with the team for a while, leading rusher Dalvin Cook’s exit appears soon. “I think they tried to trade him during the draft, and I think Miami was a target,” the source said.
Instead of a trade, the Dolphins drafted a running back on the third round and passed on the 27-year-old Cook who four times in his career has rushed for over 1,000 yards (most recently 1,177). “But the problem with Dalvin is that I don’t think anyone wants to trade for him and pay him $11 million bucks this year because the running back market is so depressed compared to other positions—which is really not fair—but that’s the way it is,” said the authority.
The Vikings appear convinced Cook’s contract is too much of a burden on their payroll and salary cap situation. To trade him for a future draft choice might require helping pay the other team for Cook’s compensation. The best window for a trade could be during training camp if another team is on the spot because of running back injuries.
Earlier this month the Vikings did agree to pay part of linebacker Za’Darius Smith’s compensation in a trade with the Browns. That helped with Minnesota’s salary cap space (reportedly now at over $13 million), as would moving on from Cook.
But the deal with the Browns that brought future draft picks to the Vikings left Minnesota with pass rushing concerns, a Smith specialty. Could Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah be looking at Ravens free agent linebacker Justin Houston?
Houston had 9.5 sacks last season and is known as a pass rushing specialist. “Yeah, he’s 34 years old but on a one year deal he could be a guy that could really…be a great signing,” said the authority quoted previously.
The former NFL executive has another defensive concern about the Vikings, and it was a suspect area last season, too. “I think the cornerback situation is still very questionable for the team.”
His first-round selection for the Vikings in the April draft would have been cornerback Deonte Banks from Maryland, rather than WR Jordan Addison of USC. The Giants, picking one spot behind the Vikings, took Banks at No. 24.
Minnesota chose USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon in the third round but how much of a contribution can he make as a rookie? The core of the Vikings’ cornerback roster consists of second year players Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans, and five year talented vet Byron Murphy who signed on as a free agent in March.
“So, they’re counting on these three guys that were all hurt last year. Booth was hurt all through college, too,” the source said. “…They really have to get fortunate with those guys staying healthy and coming on this year or they’re going to be in trouble in the secondary again.”
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, writing yesterday about the job security of MLB managers, said Rocco Baldelli “appears secure.” He wrote that before last season the Twins manager received a contract extension of unknown length but at least through 2025.
Former Twins executive Terry Ryan is the latest guest on “Behind the Game” with hosts Bill Robertson and Patrick Klinger. Ryan talks about baseball’s rule changes and other topics on the TV show that can be viewed by clicking on this link https://youtu.be/Oyje7-3Yhng
Congratulations to coach Martin Hyndman and his rowers from the University of Minnesota who won the American Collegiate Rowing Association national championship last weekend in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Men’s rowing will gain attention later this year when the movie Boys in the Boat is released and tells the story of the University of Washington team that won gold in the 1936 Olympics held in Adolph Hitler’s Berlin, Germany.
USA Basketball recently announced the men’s 2023 USA 3×3 World Cup team that will participate in the 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup May 30-June 4 in Vienna, Austria. The roster includes former Iowa Wolves player Canyon Barry, along with Jimmer Fredette, Kareem Maddox and Dylan Travis.
Larry Higgins is asking if any Sports Headliners readers have film or video of the 1961 state championship basketball game when his Bemidji High team almost upset Duluth Central in a controversial finish. Central, trailing late in the game, won 51-50 and finished with a 27-0 record.