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Vikings GM on Kirk Cousins extension: 'High-level QB play is a prerequisite' to building winning team

The Minnesota Vikings' new regime picked up where the previous brass left off, continuing the marriage to Kirk Cousins.

In announcing the quarterback's one-year, $35 million extension, new Vikes general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said he believes Cousins is the man to get the franchise over the hump.

"Kirk was one of the first players I called when I joined the Vikings, and it was immediately clear how much he cares about this organization and about winning," Adofo-Mensah said in a press release. "High-level quarterback play is a prerequisite to building a championship team, and we are confident Kirk will continue along that path."

Slated for an untenable $45 million cap hit in 2022, the Vikings' options were to extend or trade Cousins before the new league year. They opted for the former, giving Cousins a raise to $40 million this year, with $55 million payable by next March, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Adding two void years to the end of the deal helps spread out the salary cap hits.

For his trouble, Cousins squeezed another guaranteed season of pay out of Minnesota and also received a no-trade clause, which could come in handy next offseason if the Vikings decided they're ready to move on at that point.

For now, Minnesota will see if new coach Kevin O'Connell can coax a more consistently explosive offense than the previous staff.

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to play for Kevin and could not be more excited about the direction of our team," Cousins said in a statement Sunday. "As soon as we return to TCO Performance Center next month, we will begin working toward our collective goal of bringing a championship to Vikings fans."

In four seasons with Cousins at the helm, the Vikings have one playoff win and missed the postseason the past two years. The defense was the crux of the problem last season, with upgrades needed in the trenches and the back end as free agency begins this week.

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