Before Kirk Cousins signed his one-year extension, the question in Minnesota was whether the Vikings could move on from quarterback.
The extension keeps Cousins tied to the Vikes through the 2023 season, but the 33-year-old quarterback said Tuesday he hopes he never leaves Minnesota.
“The short answer [for why I signed the contract extension] it’s that I wanted to be a Minnesota Viking,” Cousins said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It’s just always trying to find win-wins. I think it was a way to create a win-win, and hopefully it will lead to a lot of wins this fall.
“My mindset was really to be a Viking. I’d like to retire as a Viking, and so I’d like to play my way if you want. I know I have to earn the right to do that.”
Cousins will be 35 when his contract ends, and unless he retires earlier than most starting QBs of that era, he will need another contract.
“If I could write it down it would be, ‘Play well enough that you never have to play or wear another shirt anywhere else,'” he said. “I will work very hard to try to make this possible.”
Cousins was quick to say he needed to play better to earn this contract extension. Minnesota is 33-29-1 with Cousins starting in four years.
The Vikings are set to be under-the-radar players in a watered-down NFC. With a sporting offense Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and a potentially improved line, the Vikings can move the ball when Cousins is on a hot streak. Last season’s issues were on defense, where Minnesota’s new brass focused their offseason efforts to improve.
With new coach Kevin O’Connell importing the Sean McVay-style offense to Minnesota, Cousins is in a position to enjoy his best season in Minnesota. It would be a start to earning that next contract to stay a Viking.
“It’s staying healthy, it’s playing at a high level, it’s protecting football, it’s making plays, it’s leading your team-mates, it’s playing with confidence, tenacity, everything what it takes to be a great quarterback,” he said. “He doesn’t do it once, not a season, not for two or three years, he does it day after day after day, and you look back after hopefully double digit years and you’ll say: “Man, that was a great race.'”