The Minnesota Vikings were pressed to find the quarterback who they felt could lead them to the Super Bowl now. On Thursday, they did just that, as they announced that they had signed highly coveted free agent Kirk Cousins to a historic and record-eclipsing contract. The deal is for three years and 84 million dollars, all of which is guaranteed, making it the first multi-year fully guaranteed contract. It also makes Cousins the highest paid player in NFL history.
The signing follows an eventful free agency opening, as quarterbacks and other notable players were on the move. Three former Vikings quarterbacks are expected to sign with other teams: Case Keenum to the Denver Broncos, Sam Bradford to the Arizona Cardinals, and Teddy Bridgewater to the New York Jets. In the effort to pursue Cousins, none of them were seen as the first option to resign.
Cousins is coming off of another stellar season for the Washington Redskins, accumulating 27 passing touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. He passed over 4,000 passing yards for the third consecutive year, with a high of almost 5,000 in 2016. Only four other quarterbacks have achieved that feat: Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford. Over the past three years, his numbers have been impressive, passing for 81 touchdowns to just 36 interceptions.
The news was preceded by rumors of an agreement by Cousins and the Vikings on March 13, a day before free agents could sign with teams. His first visit lined was with Minnesota, and it was the only visit he needed. His other choices had been narrowed down to just one: the Jets, who were prepared to offer Cousins at least 30 million dollars a year. However, Cousins stated his reason for signing was because of winning.
“Is money a part of it? Sure. Is it the only thing? No,” Cousins told Mike Florio of PFT Live during Super Bowl week. “It’s about winning, and that’s what I want more than anything.”
The Cousins signing is just one of the big-name signings in the NFL free agency period. Some other notable include 4-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman signed with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots standouts Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis signing with the Tennessee Titans, and athletic tight end Jimmy Graham going to the Green Bay Packers.
In related news, the Vikings added more quarterback depth, trading for Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos. Siemian threw for 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in two seasons in the Mile High.