Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings still have a few hours left to get a deal done before the free agent tampering period begins. What happens in that time is anyone’s guess, based on conflicting reports Sunday.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero noted that while the Vikings “are still in this, a deal could come together quickly,” Cousins appears headed for the free agent market, which begins at noon (ET) Monday when the FA tampering window opens.

“The Vikings and Kirk Cousins’ agent remain in communication, but at this point, it does appear that the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is going to hit the free agent market on Monday,” Pelissero reported.

That’s what many people had been speculating Cousins would do. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk even reported Cousins had gone so far as to inquire about the possibility of acquiring his longtime No. 8 if he signs with the Atlanta Falcons (tight end Kyle Pitts currently wears that number).

However, The Athletic‘s Dianna Russini reported the Vikings still believe Cousins wants to return, given the right deal.

“The Vikings are having internal conversations about their offer to Kirk Cousins,” Russini tweeted Sunday evening. “They haven’t been informed by Cousins’ camp about his decision, per sources. There’s a feeling around the team that the QB wants to stay a Viking but this will come down to structure of the deal.”

Pelissero mentioned the Falcons as a possibility as well as the Denver Broncos. Cousins, who has earned a reputation as one of the most brilliant contract negotiators in NFL history, is expected to command another huge, multi-year, guaranteed deal.

“So what does an offer to Kirk Cousins look like?” Pelissero said. “I would certainly anticipate that the average per year is going to be upwards of  $40 million, but structure is also really important, future guarantees are also really important … to a player who has played on a fully guaranteed deal for nine seasons in a row.”

The Vikings still have until Wednesday to sign Cousins, but after that point, his 2024 salary cap figure would include an additional $28.5 million dead money overlay in addition to his hefty salary.

What will Cousins do? The NFL world had plenty of thoughts on the issue Sunday.

[Tom Pelissero, NFL Network]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.