Vikings fans are right to celebrate the signing of Kirk Cousins, but his massive deal could make it very difficult for the team to re-sign three key stars.
The Minnesota Vikings are going all out to win a Super Bowl title this season. That’s the right strategy. It’s going to be very difficult for the team to keep its core together in 2019 and beyond.
The Vikings will need to make a series of tough choices about which players it really wants to retain moving forward. Initial reports claim the team has already identified the next three players they want to tie down with contract extensions.
The front office wants to make sure wide receiver Stefon Diggs stays in town to forge a connection with Cousins. Additionally, the Vikings want to re-sign defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr to make sure the defense continues to be the team’s strength.
To say that it will be difficult to keep this roster careful would be a massive understatement. The team already has more than $165 million committed in 2019. That only leaves them around $11.6 million to work with. Inking the three stars they’ve already prioritized for new deals will easily cause them to exceed that amount.
The Vikings front office will need to enter into serious salary cap gymnastics just to clear enough space to get those three contracts done. The reality of paying Cousins over $29 million per season is going to really hit home. In fact, it’s going to cause the team to part with serious talent at other positions.
Don’t be surprised to see the Vikings try to shed some veteran salary. At some point, it won’t be prudent to pay Harrison Smith over $10 million per season to play safety. He’ll need to play at a very high level if he wants to remain a part of this team moving forward.
Another potential danger is that one of the team’s offensive playmakers will blow up and massively increase their value. Specifically, Laquon Treadwell and Dalvin Cook have the potential to present the Vikings with real problems. Treadwell hasn’t produced anything of note yet, but he flashed massive talent at Ole Miss. The team really thought Cook was on his way to a huge season in 2017 until injury knocked him out for the year. If he stays healthy in 2018, he could easily be looking for a big payday.
Vikings fans really need to appreciate the talent their team is able to put on the field this season. It likely signifies the best group they’ll be able to put together while Kirk Cousins is on the roster. His massive salary is going to put Minnesota’s salary cap in a vice starting next year.