Kirk Cousins has carved out a nice career for himself since entering the NFL in 2012. The former fourth-round pick was drafted to the same team as one of the biggest prospects of his class, Robert Griffin III. After Griffin’s hype fizzled out, Cousins took over and even became a Pro Bowl selection for Washington in ’16. He moved on to Minnesota from there and over the past six years as a Viking, Cousins has had his contracts fully guaranteed. But according to recent reports, the Vikings have had enough of Cousins’ fully guaranteed deals.

That’s not too bad for the 102nd pick in his draft. A player who most figured would rarely if ever see live action on Sundays. The contracts Cousins has been able to get in Minnesota are highly coveted in a league that traditionally guarantees little to nothing.

With Cousins entering free agency and coming off an Achilles tear that limited him to eight games in ’23, the Vikings are apparently saying no to another fully guaranteed contract. Despite how good Cousins has been during his tenure in Minnesota, the organization is right to proceed with caution. That injury is tough for anyone to recover from, let alone a 35-year-old quarterback.

Sure, Cousins has been really good and even great at times over the last six years. But when comparing Cousins to his contemporaries around the league, one name that frequently pops up is Dak Prescott. In terms of production on the field and how far they’ve been able to lead their respective franchises, there are a lot of similarities. That comparison alone is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Prescott is another QB who’s been a starter for many years and usually plays anywhere in the good to really and sometimes great range. Both have had multiple 4,000-yard passing campaigns while also throwing for more than 30 touchdowns a few times. Yet, neither has been able to push their teams forward into the NFC championship game.

Cousins is 1-3 (with Washington and Minnesota) in the playoffs while Prescott is 2-5. Not exactly apples to apples but the results have been lacking more often than not in the playoffs. So, the Vikings are justified in not jumping right into another guaranteed deal with Cousins. Although he’s been good, he hasn’t propelled them past the second round.

The Vikings’ last appearance on Championship weekend was the year before Cousins arrived, with Case Keenum taking snaps under center. No one’s saying Keenum is a better or more accomplished QB than Cousins, but he did post an 11-3 record as a starter that year in Minnesota. It was the definition of flash in the pan, but Keenum helped the Vikings come within one win of playing in the Super Bowl.

Mr. Cousins has done a lot but has not been able to duplicate that in six years. While there is still time to figure things out, it feels like this relationship has run its course. Even if Minnesota wants to keep Cousins outside the parameters of his usual fully guaranteed contract, they likely won’t be willing to pay him what he expects. However, if Cousins is expecting to break the bank after an Achilles injury, then he’s in for a rude awakening.


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