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Jets Worried About Vikings When It Comes to Trying to Land Kirk Cousins

The Jets plan to be heavy bidders in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes and they’re convinced they can make a better financial offer than any team in the league.

But they’re also not sure the size of their bid is going to matter as long as the Vikings are involved, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reports.

Despite their willingness to throw a truckload of money and a heavily front-loaded contract at Cousins in an attempt to lure the free agent franchise quarterback to New York, the Jets are worried he might already be destined to sign with the Vikings instead. According to a team source, they 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.

Of course, they won’t know officially which way Cousins is leaning until they can formally begin talks on March 12. But the source said they are worried enough that they’re taking seriously the “Plans B and C and, if possible, D” that Jets coach Todd Bowles spoke about on Wednesday. They believe they can outbid the Vikings and offer a better contract structure, the source said, but they still think Cousins might go to Minnesota for what he’ll believe is a better chance to immediately win.

It’s easy to see why he might believe that, of course. The Vikings just reached the NFC championship game. They have one of the NFL’s best defenses, several talented young receivers (Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph), and a sensational young running back in Dalvin Cook who was injured most of last year.

Not only that, they’ve cleared the deck at the quarterback position. They had three potential starters on their roster in last year’s starter Case Keenum, and injured former starters Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. But all three are unrestricted free agents, and the Vikings have made it clear all three are free to test the market.

“That’s a dangerous thing to do if you don’t have another quarterback,” said one league source, “unless you know you’re about to get one.”

Technically they can’t know, because it would be considered tampering if they’ve had any conversations with Cousins or his agent, Mike McCartney. Realistically, of course, tampering happens all the time around the NFL and it’s safe to assume someone in Cousins camp had at least preliminary talks with officials the Vikings, Jets, Denver Broncos and any other interested teams as the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

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