Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: 'I want to be in Minnesota, that's a no-brainer'

NFL free agency started in March, and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins sent a text to offensive lineman Brian O’Neill. The conversation surrounded how different the 2023 roster could look from the one that won a division title and earned its first home playoff game in five seasons just four months ago.

The answer? A lot. The Vikings had several departures after an early playoff exit, including Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Irv Smith Jr. and Cam Dantzler.

A departure for Cousins could come as early as next year, after he and the Vikings were unable to reach an agreement on an extension this offseason. He reportedly wanted multiple years in Minnesota, and it would put him in his late 30s by the end of that contract. Instead, he faces the reality that his sixth season with the Vikings might be his last.

The Vikings executed a cap conversion in the offseason to keep Cousins under contract through this season, at a $20.2 million cap hit. He could enter free agency as early as next year.

"I don’t think you go there. I think it’s healthiest to be present and live right now in the moment," Cousins said Wednesday, speaking for the first time since last season ended. "When you do that, you get to next February and everything will work out. I want to be in Minnesota, that’s kind of a no-brainer. Hopefully we can earn the right to do that."

Cousins’ future in Minnesota has been one of the hottest topics in the offseason. There was talk of trading up in the draft for his successor. In the end, they drafted BYU’s Jaren Hall in the fifth round. There was talk that the Vikings and 49ers talked Trey Lance at the NFL Combine.

Amid all the speculation, Cousins stuck to his process. He can always work out an extension with the Vikings next offseason if 2023 goes well, and the front office likes what they see.

"I think in this league there should never be entitlement. You’ve always got to go play and teams can do whatever they want to do. That’s their prerogative, so you just go to work, you do the best you can and I’m encouraged. I think I have a lot of good football ahead of me," Cousins said. "I’ve learned you’ve got to focus on winning football games. If you win football games and do your part and put your work in, the rest will take care of itself."

So did it bother Cousins that there was talk of the Vikings moving up in the draft to find his replacement, or that they drafted a quarterback later on?

"You’re always looking to the future, you’re always looking at different options and I think everybody has got to do their due diligence. I’m looking forward to this year and wanting to go out there and prove it again, do it again and play at the highest level I can," Cousins said. "That’s really where my focus is."


The Vikings started the on-field portion of their offseason workout program on Wednesday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, and despite the fact that they’re not mandatory, they still had a solid turnout.

They had nearly 100 percent attendance last year, understandable as they were learning under a new coaching staff led by Kevin O’Connell. The notable offensive players at Wednesday’s workouts were Cousins, KJ Osborn, Alexander Mattison, T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver and Garrett Bradbury. The notable defensive names in attendance were Jordan Hicks, Harrison Phillips, Marcus Davenport, Brian Asamoah, Byron Murphy Jr. and Cam Bynum.

Some notable names not on the field? Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter. Again, the workouts are voluntary and players are not required be in attendance until mandatory mini camp in June.