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Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah on Kirk Cousins: 'It's certainly my intention to have him back here'

Kirk Cousins' season-ending Achilles injury forced the Vikings to confront their future, one lived without Cousins.

That future doesn't have to start in 2024, however. Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spoke with reporters Wednesday and clearly stated he and the Vikings want Cousins, an impending free agent, back in 2024.

"Yeah. I think I've been pretty consistent with that," Odofo-Mensah said. "Kirk the player is somebody that, as we saw what he does to this team, I thought we were playing really good football before he got injured, and it's the most important position in sports. Now ultimately it always comes down to can you find an agreement that works for both sides and all those things, but as a player it's certainly my intention to have him back here."

Cousins' 2023 season gave the Vikings plenty of reason to try to run it back with him again in 2024.

While most of the Vikings' roster struggled to find footing, Cousins kept it afloat with his arm, completing 69.5% of his passes for 2,331 yards, an 18:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a frequent place in the top 10 of's QB Index. Cousins was one of very few bright spots in a tough first six weeks of the 2023 season, but appeared perfectly poised to lead the Vikings' midseason turnaround when disaster struck in the form of his Achilles injury.

Minnesota quickly learned what it had in Cousins, and how much it missed him once he was gone, starting rookie Jaren Hall, in-season acquisition Joshua Dobbs and veteran backup Nick Mullens. None could help Minnesota finish strong, as the Vikings missed the playoffs with a 7-10 record.

Keeping Cousins won't be as simple as the turn of the calendar. The 35-year-old is on the books in the form of four void years, but isn't under contract in 2024, meaning the Vikings will have to strike a deal with him to keep Cousins in Minnesota.

"There's a lot of factors that go into these things. It's age, injury, but it's also performance," Odofo-Mensah said of a potential extension for Cousins. "How do you believe the performance will go? And there's different examples through time and obviously you have to pay attention to the person and what he puts into his body and how regimented and detailed he is. All those factors go into it but at the end of the day you're just taking risk. We try to measure it as best we can and protect ourselves and insure against it, but on his side he's trying to take less risk, right? That's his job and they should do that. We'll try to find a place in the middle and see where we end up."

Cousins' most recent deal, a one-year extension in 2022, was worth $35 million. He's earned $231.4 million in his career, so he won't be motivated solely by cashing in on one more big contract, and may instead take less to help the Vikings' roster construction.

"I do think it's important to be aware of," Cousins said earlier this week of potentially taking a hometown discount, via the team site. "I think God has blessed me financially beyond my wildest dreams, so at this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it's about.

"I had a coach who I was with, who was a younger coach at the time, this was back eight, nine years ago, before my first franchise tag [in Washington], and we were talking about the situation and he made a great comment and he said, 'Kirk, it's not about the dollars, but it is about what the dollars represent.' I thought that was an interesting comment that he made. There will always be some of that, but at today's point, structure is probably more important."

At 35, Cousins isn't showing signs of slowing down. He was playing excellent football before his injury, and after the Vikings were forced to run down their list of backup plans to undesirable results, they might value Cousins even more in 2024.

Now, the work begins on finding a way to keep him around.

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