The Minnesota Vikings weren’t going to let the Chicago Bears steal all of the offseason thunder:
Kirk Cousins plans to sign a three-year, fully-guaranteed contract from the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2018
The Vikings had three starting-caliber quarterbacks last season, each of whom entered free agency this offseason and opened the door for Kirk Cousins to slide in as the team’s new starting quarterback. Once Minnesota opted not to use the franchise tag to retain Case Keenum on a one-year deal, rumblings of the Vikings’ pursuit of Cousins started to pick up steam – Keenum has since (reportedly) agreed to terms with the Broncos.
Cousins averaged 4,392 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions over his final three seasons in Washington. He posted a 97.5 passer rating, but the team went just 24-23-1 in his starts and have missed the playoffs in each of his lat two seasons. Cousins went to the Pro Bowl in 2016 when renowned quarterback wunderkind Sean McVay was the team’s offensive coordinator. Once he officially joins the Vikings, Cousins will join another young quarterback guru in offensive coordinator (and one-time Bears head coaching candidate) John DeFilippo.
Minnesota has been a front-runner for Cousins all offseason, with the Denver Broncos (who ended up with Keenum), New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals landing among the finalists. I suppose the Cardinals and Jets could still be in the mix until a pen meets paper and the contract is signed, but this feels like a done deal.
Suddenly, the NFC North looks like the strongest division in football with three Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks and an up-and-comer on the rise in Mitch Trubisky. The rivalries are only going to heat up from here.