Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes Heating Up: Vikings Serious Contenders Along with Broncos and Jets (TWEETS)

Image via Getty

Image via Getty

When Washington acquired veteran quarterback Alex Smith from Kansas City, it officially kicked off the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes. Everybody figured all along that Cousins was going to be a free agent, and that he was almost certainly not going to re-sign with Washington. But the Smith deal sealed it.

Since then there has been a ton of speculation as to where Cousins will end up and how much he will make. Quarterbacks of his pedigree rarely hit the open market. While his next deal might not top the one San Francisco just gave Jimmy Garoppolo in terms of annual salary, it will certainly dwarf it when it comes to guaranteed money. In fact, Cousins’ next deal will probably guarantee more than the record $60.5 million Detroit guaranteed Matthew Stafford last year.

The big question is what team is going to be paying him. The Broncos have been serious suitors practically forever, and it’s been reported that the Jets, who have $73 million in cap space, are willing to pay Cousins “whatever it takes” to get him in green and white. Now a new player has thrown their hat in the ring, and it’s sent shock waves across the league.

On Monday the Minnesota Vikings declined to place the franchise tag on quarterback Case Keenum. That means he will become a free agent on March 14 when the new league year begins. Which means Minnesota needs a new quarterback.

According to numerous NFL insiders, including Mike Garafolo and Charles Robinson, the Vikings have their sights set on Kirk Cousins.

This is a pretty huge gamble for the Vikings. Case Keenum had a breakout season after taking over for the injured Sam Bradford, leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game. They could have placed the franchise tag on him and resigned Teddy Bridgewater or another veteran backup and reasonably expected to make it back to the NFC Championship Game. Instead they’ve decided to go for broke. Now, if the Vikings don’t land Cousins, they’ll either have to beg Keenum to come back—and pay him way more than they would have if they’d taged him—or find some other option.

The good news for Minnesota is that they do have a good shot at landing Cousins. In addition to $49 million in cap space, they’ve got a dominant defense and an offense consisting of proven playmakers like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook.

If Cousins wants to win now, Minnesota might be his best bet.

Stay tuned.

Hat Tip – [12up, CBS Sports]

Tags: Denver Broncos, kirk cousins, Minnesota Vikings, new york jets, NFL, Washington Redskins,