Kirk Cousins wants to 'earn the right' to retire as a Viking

Before Kirk Cousins inked his one-year extension, the question looming over Minnesota was whether the Vikings could move on from the quarterback.

The extension keeps Cousins tied to the Vikes through the 2023 season, but the 33-year-old quarterback said Monday he hopes to never leave Minnesota.

"The short answer [for why I signed the contract extension] is, I wanted to be a Minnesota Viking," Cousins said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I wanted to help create some cap space so that we could put together a roster that you do feel really good about. It's just always trying to find win-wins. I think it was a way to create a win-win, and then hopefully that leads to a lot of wins this fall.

"My mindset was really to be a Viking. I would like to retire as a Viking, and so I would like to play my way into that if you will. I know I've got to earn the right to do that."

Cousins will be 35 at the end of his contract, and unless he retires earlier than most starting QBs of this era, he'll need another deal.

"If I could draw it up, it'd be, 'Play well enough that you never have to play or wear another jersey anywhere else,'" he said. "I'm going to work really hard to try to make that possible."

Cousins didn't shy away from the fact that he must play better to earn that contract extension. Minnesota is 33-29-1 with Cousins as a starter in four years.

The Vikings are poised to be under-the-radar players in a diluted NFC. With an offense sporting Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and a potentially improved line, the Vikings can move the ball when Cousins is on a hot streak. Last season's issues were on defense, where the new Minnesota brass has focused their offseason efforts to improve.

With new coach Kevin O'Connell importing the Sean McVay-style offense to Minnesota, Cousins is in a spot to enjoy his best season in Minnesota. It would be a start to earning that next contract to remain a Viking.

"It's staying healthy, it's playing at a high level, it's protecting the football, it's making plays, it's leading your teammates, it's playing with poise, toughness, all the things it takes to be a great quarterback," he said. "It's doing that not one time, not one season, not for a two- or three-year run, it's doing it day after day after day, and you look back after hopefully double-digit years and you'll say, 'Man, that was a great run.'"

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