Vikings GM expects Kirk Cousins to officially sign deal by Thursday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kirk Cousins' first visit team in free agency will be his last.

After dining with Minnesota Vikings brass on Wednesday night at The Capital Grille in downtown Minneapolis, Cousins is expected to finalize his contract on Thursday morning and be introduced as the next Minnesota quarterback later in the afternoon.

"I think it's pretty hard not to get done right now," general manager Rick Spielman said of inking a deal with Cousins on Thursday. "His agent is flying in in the morning. We'll handle the business the first thing in the morning while he's getting his physical and going on some tours, and then hopefully we'll be having a press conference sometime tomorrow afternoon, if all goes well."

Cousins is expected to sign a three-year, fully-guaranteed contract worth $84 million. It would be the third-most guaranteed money given to a player in a single contract, behind Matthew Stafford ($92 million) and Andrew Luck ($87 million).

Cousins and his wife, Julie, were joined at dinner by Vikings owner Mark Wilf, Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski, tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Adam Thielen. Getting a feel for the people he will be surrounded by as he takes the next step in his career after six years with the Washington Redskins was a top priority for the free agent QB.

"(He) wanted to know what we're about as an organization," Spielman said. "It's real important from our ownership group, just how family-based we are. So, we had some of the players and their wives, coaches and their wives, just to get a feel for everything.

"We had him at the Senior Bowl when he came out at the Senior Bowl, and Kevin Stefanski was an assistant back then, got to know him a little bit then, but to spend some time with him, not talk anything about football, just about family and what our organization is about and what's important to him and just to get know each other, I think was what tonight was about."

On Thursday, the focus shifts to football. Cousins will tour the Vikings brand new team headquarters in Eagan, Minn., and meet with the rest of the coaching staff and key figures in the organization.

"It's all football with him tomorrow," Spielman said. "In fact, I hope I don't see him tomorrow until he's signing the paper. He'll be with the coaches all day tomorrow. They got everything they need to get going that we normally do on a visit, sit down with the coaches. Coach Zim had a nice talk with him tonight as well. Along with our ownership. We'll talk tomorrow hopefully at the press conference, but he's not only from a football player's standpoint but from a character standpoint, family guy, leadership, everything is off the charts on what we need here. And not that we didn't have that, but he brings that element to us as well."

As he exited the restaurant, Cousins stopped to sign a handful of autographs for fans who waited more than two hours to catch a glimpse of the new Vikings quarterback.

After the meeting, Cousins said "had a great visit, looking forward to tomorrow, going to be able to see more of the city and the facilities. It's a great organization, and my wife and I are thrilled to be here."