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Vikings closing in on signing Cousins to three-year deal

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins walks down the tunnel to the field prior to the Redskins' game against the Denver Broncos Dec. 24, 2017, at FedEx Field. Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is close to signing with the Vikings.

ESPN reported Tuesday that the free agent will sign a fully guaranteed, three-year deal with Minnesota on Thursday. NFL Media reported he has been been offered a three-year, $86 million contract he is expected to sign.

The move comes after Case Keenum, last year’s starter at quarterback, reached a deal to sign with Denver; he will do that Wednesday, the first official day of free agency. The Vikings have been targeting Cousins for weeks and did not make much of an effort to retain Keenum.

Cousins is expected to arrive in the Twin Cities on Wednesday and tour the Vikings’ new Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan before leaving Thursday. His agent, Mike McCartney, dismissed reports that his signing with the Vikings is a done deal.

“Will only confirm they’ll get the first visit,” McCartney told the Pioneer Press.

The New York Jets also have been in the mix for Cousins, who has passed for 4,000 or more yards each season since becoming Washington’s starter in 2015.

NFL Media reported Monday that the Vikings put in a call to Drew Brees’ agent Monday to express interest in the future hall of fame quarterback. However, NFL Media reported Tuesday that Brees will get a two-year, $50 million deal to return to New Orleans.

Keenum was 11-3 as a starter last season for the 13-3 Vikings. He took over after Sam Bradford suffered a knee injury in the opener and started all but one game the rest of the season.

Bradford is also a free agent. So is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota’s starter in 2014 and 2015 but limited to just one game since suffering a torn ACL in the final preseason practice of 2016.

It is not certain yet what sort of contract that Keenum, who made $2 million last season, will get. KUSA-TV in Denver reported he will receive at least $36 million over two years.

If Cousins agrees to sign for Minnesota’s offer, it would make him the NFL’s highest-paid player based on average salary per season. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently signed a five-year, $137.5 million deal for an average of $27.5 million.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service