Kirk Cousins rumors: Jets getting very nervous over 'threat' Vikings pose to landing QB

Kirk Cousins is the ultimate NFL domino this offseason, and nothing of note will really play out until he makes his decision about what team he will play for next. It's widely believed there are four contenders for his services: the Jets, Vikings, Cardinals and Broncos, in no particular order.

And one of those teams, the Jets, is reportedly getting very nervous about the buzz building over mutual interest between Cousins and the Vikings. 

According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Jets are "aware of the league-wide speculation that Cousins is ticketed for Minnesota and they are taking that threat seriously after some informal, preliminary talks with his camp this week."

Technically, Cousins and his camp cannot talk to other teams yet. He is still a member of the Redskins at this point and will not become a free agent until the league year begins on March 14. There is a legal tampering period in the 48 hours leading up to the new league year, which means we are still aways out from his camp being able to discuss contract negotiations with any other teams.

But let's be real here: with the entire NFL in Indianapolis for the NFL combine and there are enough communications floating back and forth between teams and players and agents and media members to generate a sense of what is or what will happen.

In other words, the Jets firmly understand that, no matter how much they want to pay Cousins or how much money they put in the first year of an offer for him, the Vikings may have a competitive advantage because of their current status among NFL contenders. 

Cousins has said repeatedly he is interested in money but is more interested in winning. Factually, the Vikings give him a better chance to win than the Jets right now. 

They are quietly loaded at the skill positions with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook. They have an elite defense that will be returning a large portion of the pieces on the roster. Aaron Rodgers, who is also waiting for Cousins to sign so he can get even richer, is in the division and that's a problem, but Minnesota adding Cousins and winning the NFC North would not be a surprise. (Plus, the Jets have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick lingering for eternity.) 

New York can certainly offer Cousins a pile of money, but also must recognize that he could decide to go in a different direction. They appear to be doing that, as Vacchiano reports the Jets "are worried enough that they're taking seriously the 'Plans B and C and, if possible, D'" that coach Todd Bowles mentioned during his media appearance at the combine. 

For the Jets, it could mean going back to the Josh McCown well, it could mean chasing A.J. McCarron or Case Keenum in free agency or it could mean drafting a quarterback at No. 6 overall. It could mean more than one of those things happening this offseason. The Jets will be investing in the quarterback position.

The only question is if they will get a chance to invest in Kirk Cousins, or if the Vikings will manage to beat them to the punch and swoop in. Be prepared for a thrilling battle for the biggest free agent quarterback the NFL may have ever seen. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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