Vikings intend to make strong push for Kirk Cousins

In the wake of Monday's news that impending free agent Case Keenum is unlikely to draw the franchise tag in Minnesota, attention immediately turned to Kirk Cousins.

If aggressive suitors such as the Jets and Broncos push their money to the center of the table in next month's Cousins sweepstakes, will the Vikings opt to match or fold?

Appearing on Monday's edition of Up to the Minute Live, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo emphasized the NFC North champions' unequivocal intention to pursue the top prize on Around The NFL's list of the Top 101 free agents.

"The Minnesota Vikings are going to be players for Kirk Cousins," Garafolo explained. "I have been told that by numerous sources the whole way. I'm not saying they're going to land him. I do believe that they have a great pitch to make to him as far as look at our defense, look at our targets, look at everything we've got. You can come in here and compete right away.

"The money is going to be what the money is going to be, we've talked about upwards of $30 million per season because you rarely see a quarterback like this hit the open market. But the Minnesota Vikings are going to make a strong push for Kirk Cousins, you can absolutely bet."

Hours later, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport echoed those sentiments on NFL Total Access.

"They are going to pursue Cousins hard," Rapoport explained. "And from what I am told, the Minnesota Vikings have a legitimate and very real chance at Kirk Cousins. And of course, so much of the allure of them as far as Cousins would be concerned is just the team that they have on the field already. They reached the NFC title game with Keenum as quarterback and they have a defense that's ready-made and going to be there for years. They have two big-time receivers, they have two big-time running backs. There's a lot to like as far as the Vikings and Cousins goes."

Although Rapoport acknowledges that it's early to label any team a clear favorite, he added that Minnesota would be in pole position if he was forced to rank the contenders at this early juncture.

"Then, of course, there's the Denver Broncos who are also going to be willing to spend big at the quarterback position," Rapoport added. "And then the New York Jets, who are also looking to do the same. Perhaps the Jets could offer the most money. We'll see if that's, in the end, what Cousins chooses."

Garafolo and Rapoport aren't alone in spicing up the Cousins-to-Minnesota connection.'s Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys executive, tweeted Monday that he expects Cousins to ultimately land with the Vikings.

"Certainly interest on both sides," Brandt continued.

Brandt's prediction comes three weeks after a claim from Paul Allen of Minneapolis radio station KFAN that the Vikings are "number one with a bullet" on Cousins' rudimentary wish list.

Twin Cities faithful might want to wait a couple of weeks before breaking out the "Skol" chants again. As we learned during Peyton Manning's grand tour with the 49ers, Titans, Cardinals, Dolphins and Broncos a half-decade ago, favorites tend to come and go in a pecking order that remains fluid right up until the name is signed on the dotted line.

One of the NFL's most productive quarterbacks since ascending to the starting role in 2015, Cousins has spent the past two years waiting in vain for a Redskins commitment. Now that he's poised to gain his freedom, teams are already lining up for the opportunity to show more love than Washington ever did.

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