Cousins' move to Minnesota is part of a league-wide quarterback reshuffling that also has seen Keenum land in Denver, Sam Bradford go to Arizona, Teddy Bridgewater join the New York Jets and AJ McCarron end up in Buffalo.
Cousins' availability marked the rare NFL occurrence of a productive quarterback being on the open market in the prime of his career. The Redskins used their franchise-player tag the previous two years to keep Cousins from entering free agency, and the two sides never were able to agree to a long-term deal to ensure that Cousins' stay in Washington would be more permanent.
A third straight franchise tag this year would have been very costly, at about $34.5 million on a one-year deal, and unwieldly for the Redskins' salary cap. The team decided to move on, agreeing during Super Bowl week to a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that brought Alex Smith, the league's top-rated passer last season, to Washington as Cousins' replacement.
A group of quarterback-needy teams that included the Broncos, Jets, Cardinals and others had lined up as potential Cousins suitors.
In joining the Viking, he lands at a team with Super Bowl aspirations for next season and beyond, and Cousins will have to deal with the expectations that accompany those hopes. He comes with a hefty price tag and he is expected to be the final piece of a Super Bowl puzzle in Minnesota after Keenum had a breakthrough 2017 season, playing at a near-league-MVP level, but could not get the Vikings past the Eagles in the NFC title game.