Vikings QB Kirk Cousins Gets Encouraging Injury Update, Primed to Sign Big Deal

Quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ health is better than expected sooner than expected, which bodes well for a sizable new extension — either with the Minnesota Vikings or elsewhere.

On Friday, January 26, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network updated Cousins’ rehabilitation of the torn Achilles tendon he suffered against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. Pelissero said the QB is ahead of schedule and should be throwing within a matter of weeks.

Kirk Cousins is ahead of schedule in his recovery from Achilles surgery and will be throwing in the next month or so.

What kind of payday could Cousins get when free agency kicks off in 44 days? @MarcRoss helped us break it down on The Insiders.

📺📱💻 https://t.co/RV7mRM3S0M pic.twitter.com/hEfFm8JTx1

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 26, 2024

“Cousins is believed to be the first player in NFL history to play on fully-guaranteed money nine years and running, going back to those two franchise tags he signed in Washington before he got the first big deal in Minnestoa back in 2017,” Pelissero reported. “Cousins is gonna turn 36 before next season. He is coming off that ruptured Achilles. I’m told, though, he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery. … He’s actually going to be throwing before the combine next month, so everything is tracking in a good direction for Kirk Cousins to be fully ready to roll for the Vikings, or whoever he might be with in 2024.”

Kirk Cousins Has Leverage to Negotiate Yet Another Massive Contract from Vikings, Other NFL Teams

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings (left) talks with head coach Kevin O’Connell (right) during an NFL game.

Marc Ross, a former NFL front office member and current analyst with NFL Network, spoke to Cousins’ position of strength as he steps to the negotiating table with the Vikings, and potentially other teams in the coming weeks.

“Cousins and his agent Mike McCartney have mastered this free agent game and extension game,” Ross said. “We know Kirk was crushing it throughout this year [then] had the Achilles injury. His importance was seen even more with the turn style of quarterbacks that were in there in Minnesota when he went out. So even though he’s coming off the injury, Kirk has proved he knows how to get the money. He has proved he can put up yards and be prolific in the league. And [due to] a whole lot of teams without top-tier guys, Kirk — I think — is all set to cash in once again.”

Cousins has signed three deals with Minnesota since joining the team six years ago. Over that span, he has earned $185 million from the Vikings. Spotrac projects Cousins’ market value at more than $118 million over a new three-year contract.

Parting Ways With QB Kirk Cousins Will Cost Vikings Significant Cap Space in 2024

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

If the Vikings decide not to sign Cousins because of the combination of his age, price and recent injury history, that decision will come with a significant cost.

Minnesota will need to draft a QB in April — for whom the team may need to trade up, sacrificing significant assets in the process — sign some other pricey veteran in free agency who doesn’t have the history or chemistry Cousins does inside the locker room, or gamble on either Jaren Hall or Nick Mullens as the starter in 2024.

Beyond those scenarios, however, it will cost the Vikings a $28.5 million dead cap hit if Cousins’ contract voids in March. Signing the QB to a new deal, even an expensive one, makes some sense because of that. Minnesota would still eventually have to negotiate that money into the salary cap at some point in the future, however re-signing Cousins is the team’s best path to remaining competitive in the short-term.

“Sign Cousins, and you might be risking a more malleable future with a franchise-defining upside,” Alec Lewis of The Athletic wrote on Thursday, January 25. “Opt to go the other route, and you might be risking years of inconsistency only to end up feeling that all you need to get over the hump is a quarterback like Kirk Cousins.”

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