MINNEAPOLIS — Almost exactly one year ago the Minnesota Vikings and veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins agreed on a one-year extension to keep the 34-year-old signal caller around for 2022.
Cousins responded by throwing for over 4,500 yards, leading the league with eight game winning drives, and making his fourth Pro Bowl while leading Minnesota to a 13-4 record.
Now the team faces a similar dilemma, deciding whether to extend Cousins to a long team deal or letting him walk in free agency and turning elsewhere to find their quarterback in 2023.
Ron Johnson, who hosts the Locked on Sports Minnesota show, believes the team should ink Cousins up long term, citing his clean bill of health and the lack of external options as the primary reasons why.
"You look at Kirk Cousins, he doesn't put himself in harms way," Johnson said. "Some people wish he would run more, but with more running comes more responsibility. Do you really want Carson Wentz? He is out there, but can he stay healthy?"
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The Vikings do hold the No. 24 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but the top tier quarterbacks - like Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson - are likely already going to be off the board by that time.
Minnesota's options if they move on from Cousins include a lower tier draft pick, like Hendon Hooker from Tennessee, or scouring the free agent market which includes Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield, and the aforementioned Wentz.
Cousins' age, contract demands, and declining touchdown numbers (last year's 4.5% touchdown rate was his lowest in a Minnesota uniform) will certainly give the Vikings pause - but there aren't any guarantees available on the open market either, and running it back with Cousins for another few years might be the best way to go.