Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins (COVID) returns to practice

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was cleared to practice Wednesday after missing five days of training camp following a positive COVID-19 test.

Cousins was sent home last Thursday after feeling ill and missed Sunday’s preseason opener at Las Vegas.

The veteran signal-caller told reporters Wednesday the five days he missed were the most “strategic” because the span included a travel day, an off day and a preseason game. Cousins wasn’t expected to play much, if at all, in the game.

Cousins, who turns 34 on Friday, is entering his fifth season with the Vikings and 11th overall. He passed for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 16 games last season.

He has 32,593 passing yards, 223 touchdowns and 91 picks in 125 games (120 starts) with Washington (2012-17) and Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins lands one-year, $35 million extension with Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings and quarterback Kirk Cousins agreed to a one-year contract extension that covers the 2023 NFL season, Cousins’ agent announced Sunday night.

ESPN and NFL Network reported that the extension is worth $35 million and fully guaranteed.

Cousins was entering the final year of his existing deal. He signed a three-year, fully guaranteed contract with Minnesota in free agency before the 2018 season, then added two years by inking an extension in March 2020.

The latest extension is designed to help the Vikings lower his cap number for 2022, which was set to be $45 million. Cousins will count $31.25 million against the Vikings’ salary cap.

New Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell worked with Cousins in Washington for one season in 2017, when O’Connell was that team’s quarterbacks coach.

In 16 starts in 2021, Cousins threw for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 66.3 completion percentage. Cousins earned his third career Pro Bowl selection, but for the third time in his four seasons with Minnesota, the Vikings fell shy of the playoffs.

Cousins has a 59-59-2 record as a starter and a 1-2 mark in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; (Editors Notes: Caption Correction) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings activate QB Kirk Cousins from COVID list

The Minnesota Vikings activated quarterback Kirk Cousins from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, and coach Mike Zimmer said the veteran will start Sunday in the season finale.

Cousins, who is unvaccinated, tested positive last week for the virus. He missed the team’s Week 17 game, a 37-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Zimmer said Wednesday that Minnesota’s starters will play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears (6-10), even though the Vikings (7-9) have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Sean Mannion made his first start of the season against the Packers, throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, the 33-year-old Cousins has completed 66.4 percent of his throws for 3,971 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 starts.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins (COVID) out Sunday

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday night’s must-win game at Green Bay, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Cousins, who reportedly is unvaccinated, will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the second time in 2021. He was also in the NFL’s health and safety protocol during the preseason in August.

ESPN reported Cousins had symptoms, reported them to the team and tested positive.

With backup Sean Mannion also still on the COVID list as of Friday, rookie Kellen Mond would be in line to make his NFL debut when the Vikings (7-8) visit the Packers (12-3).

Cousins, 33, is the only quarterback to take snaps this season for Minnesota. He has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 3,971 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 15 starts.

Mannion, 29, entered the protocol last Sunday.

Mond, 22, was selected in the third round out of Texas A&M in the 2021 NFL Draft. He passed for 9,661 yards and 71 touchdowns in four seasons with the Aggies.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Hospital cuts ties with Vikings’ Kirk Cousins over QB’s vaccine stance

Kirk Cousins has been cut — but not by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Holland Hospital, which has used Cousins to promote its sports medicine program for the past several years, cut ties with the quarterback on Friday over his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Cousins went to high school in Holland, Mich., where the hospital is located.

Cousins declined to say at a news conference Thursday whether he is vaccinated, calling it a “very private health decision.”

“While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital’s position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health. For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now,” the hospital said in a statement.

“We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture. However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.”

Cousins, who turns 33 this month, was placed in the Vikings’ COVID-19 protocols when he was named a close contact of a rookie quarterback Kellen Mond, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Cousins said he was “at peace” with his choice.

Last year, Cousins said he was taking a “survival of the fittest” approach to the pandemic, and on Thursday, he said he would do “whatever it takes” to stay safe amid the resurgent virus.

“I do believe that as a leader of the team it’s very important I follow the protocols and avoid a close contact,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

The NFL has pushed to get players and staff vaccinated ahead of the 2021 season, which begins Sept. 9. The league has said that any team that vaccinates 85 percent of its players and staff can relax its safety protocols and can apply less stringent rules to vaccinated players.

The NFL announced last month that if a regular-season game cannot be rescheduled and is canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, that team will have to forfeit and will be credited with a loss.

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2021; in Eagen, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talk during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins will return to practice Thursday

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will return to practice Thursday after a five-day absence due to COVID-19.

Cousins and backup quarterback Nate Stanley were deemed high-risk close contacts to rookie QB Kellen Mond, who tested positive for the virus. Stanley is also due back Thursday after isolating.

Jake Browning has been the team’s No. 1 quarterback this week.

Head coach Mike Zimmer shrugged when asked about the status of Mond, though he’ll have to miss a minimum of 10 days.

Zimmer also said he won’t be discussing vaccinations anymore after expressing his dismay with his team’s 64.5 percent vax rate, reportedly the lowest in the NFL.

“We could put this thing to bed if we’d all do this, but it is what it is,” Zimmer said Monday.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond (11), quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), and quarterback Jake Browning (3) talk during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, two other QBs on COVID-19 list

The Minnesota Vikings placed quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Third-year player Jake Browning, who is fully vaccinated, is the lone Vikings quarterback available to practice. Browning has no NFL experience and was signed to a reserve/future contract in January.

Coach Mike Zimmer was none-too-pleased with those who have elected against getting vaccinated when addressing reporters on Monday.

“We could put this thing to bed if we’d all do this, but it is what it is,” Zimmer said.

Cousins has declined to answer questions about his vaccination status.

NFL Network reported Monday that the Vikings plan to sign quarterback Case Cookus.

–Field Level Media

May 26, 2021; Eagan, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and quarterback Kellen Mond (11) participate in drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings QB Kellen Mond tests positive, Kirk Cousins close contact

Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, NFL Network reported, as three of the team’s QBs were out for Saturday’s practice, including starter Kirk Cousins.

Fellow quarterback Nate Stanley also was out of Saturday’s practice, with NFL Network adding that Cousins is a “high-risk close contact.”

The Vikings did release a statement on the situation but did not name specific players.

“Due to the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, multiple players will be held out of tonight’s practice inside TCO Stadium,” the team said in its statement. “We will share further updates as they become available in the coming days.”

According to NFL rules related to COVID-19, any players or staff who have been vaccinated are not considered high-risk close contact.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer expressed frustration over the team’s predicament.

“That’s why people should get vaccinated,” Zimmer said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Quarterback Jake Browing, who has no NFL experience and was signed to a reserve/future contract in January, was expected to handle all of the reps in practice Saturday. Browning is vaccinated.

“It’s important to be available when you’re playing football in a team sport,” Zimmer said in regard to Browning. “… He’s vaccinated. That helps to be the backup.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings GM: ‘Kirk Cousins is our quarterback’

Rick Spielman has not been living in a vacuum.

With the early NFL offseason buzz all about quarterbacks either changing teams or wanting a new home address, the Minnesota Vikings general manager insisted Wednesday that his franchise would not be one to hunt for a new signal-caller in 2021.

“Kirk Cousins is our quarterback,” Spielman said bluntly on a video call with reporters. “I know there’s a lot of rumors floating around out there, but Kirk Cousins is our quarterback. We felt that he played very well, probably the best that he’s ever played down that stretch last year.”

Cousins, 32, just finished his third season with the Vikings after signing a two-year, $66 million free-agent deal in 2019 after six seasons with Washington. He led Minnesota to the playoffs in his second season, going 10-5 as a starter while throwing for 3,603 yards with 26 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.

Cousins put up arguably better numbers in 2020, with 4,265 passing yards, a career-high 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But the Vikings went just 7-9 in their first losing season since 2014.

Despite the Vikings sporting the NFL’s fourth-rated offense last season, their highest NFL ranking since 2004, Cousins has endured plenty of criticism by those who believe he has not lived up to franchise quarterback money in Minnesota.

“Kirk is our quarterback going forward, and I look forward to him with another year in this system,” Spielman said. “I’m excited for him and what he’s going to bring to our team next year.”

Cousins carries a $31 million salary-cap figure next season, and his $35 million salary for 2022 will be fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster on March 19. That would increase his cap hit to the Vikings to $45 million in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view of a Minnesota Vikings helmet during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings announce promotion of Klint Kubiak to OC

The Minnesota Vikings announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak to offensive coordinator on Tuesday.

He officially replaces his father, Super Bowl-winning coach Gary Kubiak, who retired last month.

“I’m happy to keep consistency of the scheme and the staff on the offensive side of the ball for 2021. I believe in the system and the coaches we have,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said in a statement. “Klint will do a great job leading them and continuing to put our players in position to maximize their skills.”

The younger Kubiak, who will turn 34 next week, spent the past two seasons as the club’s quarterbacks coach. He was with Denver as offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach from 2015-17. The Broncos, coached by Gary Kubiak, won Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

Klint Kubiak played defensive back at Colorado State. He started his NFL coaching career in Minnesota under Zimmer in 2013 as quality control/assistant wide receivers coach.

He is credited with helping quarterback Kirk Cousins achieve his two best seasons in terms of passer rating: 107.4 in 2019 and 105.0 in 2020. In that span, Cousins threw 61 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

“I am thrilled for Klint to get the opportunity to be our offensive coordinator,” Cousins said in a statement. “Having the chance to work with him on a day-to-day to basis the last two seasons has helped me grow both as a player and a person.

“His sharp mind and even-keel demeanor will serve him well as a play-caller. We will all benefit from the continuity Klint provides, and I’m looking forward to working with him in this new role.”

Also on Tuesday, the Vikings promoted Andrew Janocko from wide receivers coach to quarterbacks coach. Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell will hold the same position in Minnesota.

–Field Level Media