Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on testing free agency: ‘I’m not going to force anything’

For the first time since signing with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2018, Kirk Cousins is eligible to become a free agent in March.

Cousins came to Minnesota on a three-year, $84 million fully-guaranteed deal. In his six years with the Vikings, Cousins has made the playoffs twice, and has one win in New Orleans. The Vikings and Cousins are in a complicated spot entering the 2024 season. He’ll be 36 years old and in his 13th NFL season. Minnesota has the No. 11 pick in the NFL Draft, and in a perfect world, they bring Cousins back while drafting a future starter.

Cousins spoke with reporters Monday at TCO Performance Center as players cleaned out their lockers, with the season over at 7-10 after a 30-20 loss to the Lions on Sunday.

"I’ll let Mike McCartney do his job and I’ll let the team do theirs. I’m not going to force anything. We’ll let the team do what they want to do, it’s their club and they’ll make their decisions and we’ll react accordingly," Cousins said. 

Cousins was asked if he would take a "hometown discount" to stay in Minnesota. Something he’s never done in any contract negotiation in his NFL career. After the Vikings saw what they had in Jaren Hall, Nick Mullens and trading for Joshua Dobbs, it’s clear Cousins is likely the short-term answer, barring making a splash in the draft.

"I think that God has blessed me financially beyond my wildest dreams, so at this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about. But it is about what the dollars represent," Cousins said. "Structure is probably more important, everything that isn’t the dollars."

At least one of Cousins' teammates on Monday made it very clear they want him back with the Vikings.

"Absolutely. One thousand, million percent. That’s my guy, I’d ride for him and I’ll tell anybody that. 10,000 percent, I’d rather have nobody else than Kirk Cousins under center for us. I love that guy," right tackle Brian O'Neill said. "I could talk about Kirk for two hours if you want, he has that kind of impact on our locker room. "

Cousins was playing at an MVP-caliber level when he went down for the season in Week 8 with a torn Achilles at Lambeau Field. He completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. At the time, he led the NFL in yards and touchdowns.

He says it’s unlikely his injury will affect his next contract, whether it’s with the Vikings or elsewhere.

"I’m not going to try to sell myself. The Achilles is going to heal and it’s on track, and I’m a pocket passer and there’s a lot of time before next season. For a lot of reasons, it doesn’t concern me but I can’t convince other people of that, and that’s OK," Cousins said.

His biggest motivation for his next team? Winning. He’s 50-37-1 as Minnesota’s starter, and won a division title last year, but still only has one playoff victory.

"I think it ultimately is about winning football games, so that will be the most important thing, winning football games. With that, no one thing is in a vacuum. Usually you win football games because there are some other factors that are really important to me that are going to have to be there to be able to win football games," Cousins said. "I certainly believe we can do that here."