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Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

Kirk Cousins explains why he didn't prohibit future franchise tag in Vikings contract

Kirk Cousins wanted stability. The mega deal he signed with the Vikings includes clauses that prevent the Vikings from trading him or applying the transition tag without his consent. However, there is no such line preventing the Vikings from using the franchise tag on Cousins, should it come to that following the 2020 season.

Players have previously negotiated no franchise tag clauses into their contracts, including the Saints’ Drew Brees and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald. Cousins, who was tagged twice in Washington, explained why he didn’t during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio this week.

In short, because a third franchise tag would guarantee him a roughly $13 million raise.

“My understanding is I can be franchised a third time, but because of the rule change that happened many years ago as a result of a guy like Walter Jones, who was tagged several times at a flat rate, it will be a 44 percent bump on my previous year’s salary,” Cousins said.

General manager Rick Spielman made clear, the Vikings view Cousins as the team’s franchise quarterback for the long haul beyond the current three-year contract. But because of Cousins’ contract history, which includes two previous franchise tags from the Washington Redskins, the Vikings are saddled with a hefty 44-percent raise to Cousins if they were the team giving him a third tag.

The Vikings are scheduled to pay Cousins a $29.5 million salary for the 2020 season. If things go well, they’ll more than likely attempt to renegotiate before then. A third franchise tag would cost the Vikings north of $40 million for the 2021 season.

“Which my agent and I felt was high enough we’d be comfortable with that if it happened,” Cousins said.

Mock draft roundup 2.0: Offensive linemen still pegged to Vikings

The Vikings are about five weeks from being on the clock at pick No. 30 in the first round. General manager Rick Spielman and the Vikings personnel department will continue evaluations across the country during college pro days this week, featuring Georgia today as well as Ohio State and Notre Dame on Thursday.

One player pegged to the Vikings, Buckeyes center/guard Billy Price, isn’t expected to participate Thursday due to a pectoral injury suffered at the combine last month. However, Price and other offensive linemen are still the most common selection among draft analysts for the Vikings to protect newly-signed quarterback Kirk Cousins. Take a look at a handful of mock drafts we rounded up below and their picks for the Vikings at No. 30 overall:

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)’s Mel Kiper: OT Geron Christian (Louisville)’s Todd McShay: C/G Billy Price (Ohio State)’s Bucky Brooks: OLB Lorenzo Carter (Georgia)’s Lance Zierlein: CB Jaire Alexander (Louisville)’s Daniel Jeremiah: C/G Billy Price (Ohio State)

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer: DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)’s Rob Rang: OT Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame)’s Walter Cherepinsky: G Will Hernandez (UTEP)

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