Report: Vikings express interest in free-agent quarterback Drew Brees

EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins isn’t the only big-money quarterback the Vikings are going after.

On the first day of the “legal tampering” period Monday, March 12, NFL Media reported that the Vikings reached out to the agent for Drew Brees, in line to become a free agent Wednesday, March 14, if he’s not re-signed by New Orleans.

It is expected that Brees, 39, will return to the Saints, but the Vikings figure it can’t hurt to inquire.

The Vikings have a much better chance to land Cousins, who will become a free agent after six years with Washington and could command a contract worth $30 million a year, which would be the highest average per year in NFL history. The Vikings reached out to Cousins’ agent on Monday, although it was not clear what they are willing to offer him.

Cousins reportedly is seeking a fully guaranteed contract, one that could be worth $90 million over three years.

An agent who represents a Vikings player labeled Cousins, who has a career starting record of 26-30-1, “fool’s gold” because signing him to a huge deal could affect Minnesota’s ability to sign key players to contract extensions. Vikings players in line for possible big extensions this offseason include linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, all entering the final year of a contract.

Cousins on Monday put on his web site a message entitled, “Farewell Washington.” The message included tags on the bottom for the Vikings and the Jets, considered the top two suitors for Cousins, but they were later removed.

“As I’m about to make one of the bigger decisions of my life, I’ll be saying goodbye to my familiar life as a Redskin,” Cousins wrote. “After calling Washington home for the past six years, the team has decided to move on to another option (Alex Smith, who officially will be acquired in a trade Wednesday with Kansas City) and, in turn, my family and I will be moving on as well. … I am filled with gratitude over the unwavering support and devotion from you, the fans, both on and off the field.”

Denver and Arizona are also considering Cousins, 29, who has thrown for 4,000 yards for three straight years and made the Pro Bowl after the 2016 season.

NFL analyst and former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who has talked to Cousins about his free agency, said he doesn’t plan to make a decision on his destination any earlier than Wednesday’s first official day of free agency. Following Tuesday’s second day of “legal tampering,” teams can begin signing free agents off other teams at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

NFL Media reported that the Saints have offered Brees a contract worth $22 million for 2018, which he might consider too low. Brees, a certain hall of famer, has played the past 12 seasons with the Saints, and led them to a win in Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season.

Brees took the Saints to the playoffs last season, but they lost 29-24 in a divisional game to the Vikings when Case Keenum threw a miraculous 61-yard touchdown pass to Diggs on the game’s final play.

Keenum went 11-3 as a starter last season for the 13-3 Vikings. He is due to become a free agent Wednesday along with Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota’s starting quarterback in 2014 and 2015, and Sam Bradford, the starter in 2016.

Keenum, a former star at the University of Houston, attended Monday night a Houston Rockets home game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets, who have a celebrity attempt a free throw before each home game, selected Keenum, and he drilled the shot while wearing a Rockets jersey.