Kirk Cousins isn’t going anywhere. At least that was the word Wednesday from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
In a conference call with reporters, Spielman shot down rumors that the veteran quarterback and his outsized contract could be traded this offseason.
“Kirk Cousins is our quarterback,” Spielman said. “I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well (in 2020), probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year. Kirk is our quarterback going forward, and I look forward to him (having) another year in this system.”
Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings as a free agent in 2018 and then a two-year, $66 million extension last March, taking him through the 2023 season. He is on the books for a base salary of $21 million and cap number of $31 million in 2021. If he remains on the roster past March 19, his 2022 contract will be guaranteed, which would pay a base salary of $35 million and leave his cap number at a whopping $45 million.
In his third season with the Vikings, Cousins threw for a career-high 35 touchdowns and had the second-highest passer rating of his nine-year career at 105.0. But Minnesota finished just 7-9, making Cousins’ Vikings starting record 25-21-1, and they missed the playoffs for the second time in the three years.
The salary cap will go down in 2021 to as low as $180 million due to the coronavirus pandemic after being $198.2 million in 2020, and the Vikings will have to cut costs. On Tuesday, they released tight end Kyle Rudolph, which saved about $5 million under the cap, but they are still about $5 million over the cap two weeks before the start of the new league year starts on March 17.
Spielman declined to discuss specifics related to Cousins’ contract.