EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins is keeping it Purple.
The Vikings quarterback and the team agreed have agreed in principle to a contract extension, the team announced Tuesday. Cousins, a marquee addition through free agency in 2018, was set to enter the final year of his three-year contract. The extension will carry the QB through 2022.
"Julie and I are thrilled to be staying in Minnesota for the next several years," Cousins said in a statement Tuesday. "People have embraced us and treated our family incredibly well. We also believe we are building something special at the Vikings. We know how much this team means to the fans and the state, and we want to do everything we can to help this team bring a championship home."
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said in a statement that the Vikings are "very excited to keep Kirk and his family in Minnesota for the future.
""Kirk has proven he's one of the top quarterbacks in this league and has continued to improve and progress each day since he arrived here," Spielman said. "It means a lot to have such upstanding individuals like Kirk and Julie committed to not only our team success, but also to our community with all the exemplary work they've done in that arena. Our collective goal is to bring a championship to Minnesota, and we will do whatever it takes."
Cousins' agent Mike McCartney broke the news on Twitter Monday morning:
Financial terms of the extension were not disclosed by the team.
Cousins has gone 18-12-1 in 31 regular-season starts with Minnesota. He has completed 732 of 1,050 passes (69.7 percent) for 7,901 yards with 56 touchdowns against 16 interceptions for a passer rating of 103.0 since joining the Vikings. The 56 touchdowns are the most by a Vikings quarterback in his first two seasons with the team.
In 2019, Cousins posted the second-highest passer rating in a season by a Vikings QB, totaling a 107.4. He went 10-5 in 15 starts to help Minnesota earn a playoff berth.
A torrid October in which Cousins became the first player in NFL history to post three consecutive games (Weeks 5-7) with at least 300 passing yards and a 130.0 passer rating led to his selection as NFC Offensive Player of the Month. His 137.1 passer rating over the course of four victories that month is the second-highest recorded by a player in a single month in NFL history behind Peyton Manning's 138.0 in September 2013.
With Minnesota's playoff fate already sealed by Week 17, Head Coach Mike Zimmer opted to rest Cousins for the regular-season finale.
Cousins returned the following week to record his first playoff win, helping the Vikings shock the Saints 26-20. He completed a 4-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph in overtime to silence the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and advance the Vikings to the Divisional round.
Zimmer said last month during his podium session at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine that Cousins "probably had his best season as a professional."
"I thought he did a great job of understanding the scheme and what we're trying to do with each game plan," Zimmer said. "I thought he studied his rear end off, as far as trying to get prepared each and every week, and I thought the coaches did a great job with him. We're looking for him to continue to get better and keep going forward with him."
The Vikings have retained continuity around Cousins, despite the departure of Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski to become Cleveland's head coach.
Gary Kubiak has been promoted to offensive coordinator after spending last season as an assistant head coach and senior advisor, and Klint Kubiak will be again working as quarterbacks coach.
In a side session with Twin Cities media members at the combine, Zimmer explained how the team's offseason moves are about building around Cousins.
"I think part of the deal is keeping the scheme the same, 'OK, so now he can go all-in,' " Zimmer said. "Kubiak's an unbelievable coach. He does a great job with that. But keeping the continuity of the scheme he's got to learn … two years ago, he had to change protection, get all through different things, then come back to the other side, change it again, check to this and check to that, and now he's just playing football, and to me, that was a big factor in how he did.
"And secondly, I believe that if we can continually find a way to get better on the offensive line, that's going to make him even better," Zimmer added. "I don't see him taking a step back. I see him continuing to ascend."
View the top photos of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins from the 2019 season.
Gary Kubiak spoke in February and said that he thinks Cousins, who is entering his ninth pro season, is "in the prime of his career."
"There's no doubt about that. I think the better we become as a group, the better Kirk's going to play within the system, those types of things," Kubiak said.
"He got rid of the football quick this year, got it out of his hands, and it kept us on schedule, so to speak," Kubiak added. "I think as he continues to grow with that, understanding that, the better we play around him, get open, protect, all those types of things, the better he's going to play."