, Lada Vesta ! :)
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     09, and this is his thir

    The leverage of free agency in his prime brought Kirk Cousins the market-setting contract with Minnesota.

    Now the Vikings have their latest franchise quarterback to try to secure that elusive first Super Bowl victory with.

    The Vikings wrapped up their welcome party with an $84 million Devin Hester Jersey , three-year contract for Cousins on Thursday afternoon, banking big time on the late-blooming former Washington Redskins prospect to finally stabilize a critical position that's been infamously problematic.

    "The contract, it is what it is," Cousins said. "But what my wife and I are thrilled about is the organization we are walking into."

    The money for Cousins is fully guaranteed, the largest such figure in NFL history, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along, according to figures tracked by the pro sports financial website spotrac . His annual average of $28 million is also, for now, the biggest in the league, at least until the next mega quarterback contract comes along.

    Team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf were willing to approve the investment, hopeful that Cousins can be the keystone to a championship squad.

    "If anybody in this city or this state has a question about their commitment, I think this contract shows that they're all in," Cousins said. "It's a tremendous amount of belief in me as a person and as a player, and I'm humbled and honored to get the OK on that."

    The guarantee of the full value of the deal is unprecedented in the NFL, where a variety of complex factors have kept players from receiving sure-thing contracts like their professional baseball, basketball and hockey peers.

    His agent Carlton Davis Buccaneers Jersey , Mike McCartney, began talking to Cousins about the potential for such a groundbreaking deal more than two years ago with the assumption he'd eventually arrive at free agency because of the noncommittal Redskins.

    "There's nothing I can pave unless people come after me," Cousins said at his introductory news conference at the team's sparkling and still-under construction suburban headquarters. "I guess history will probably write that."

    Cousins will represent the fourth primary quarterback the Vikings have had in as many seasons. As long as he stays healthy throughout the summer, Cousins will also represent the eighth starting quarterback for a season opener in the past nine years.

    Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum all became free agents this week and signed with other teams, so the Vikings didn't have much of a backup plan if Cousins balked at their offer.

    But as a team with a star-laden defense and plenty of dynamic skill-position players on offense that reached the NFC championship game last season, the Vikings also represented quite the destination for Cousins.

    "I came here because of the chance to win," he said. "I felt like it was probably the best chance."

    Cousins started 57 games over his six seasons with Washington, which drafted him in the fourth round in 2012 behind second overall draft pick Robert Griffin III. RG3's star faded quickly, though, and Cousins, who was lightly recruited out of Holland Christian High School before landing at Michigan State, worked his way up the depth chart. He topped 4,000 passing yards over each of the past three years.

    The Redskins appeared in only one postseason game with Cousins at the helm, and his career record as a starter is just 26-30-1. Rarely does a rising quarterback reach free agency before turning 30, though Dolphins Albert Wilson Jersey , so after playing for about $20 million in 2016 and about $24 million in 2017 on consecutive franchise tags with Washington, Cousins reached his opportunity to truly cash in after the Redskins acquired Alex Smith in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    "He bet on himself several times and won, and those things are really important to me," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's always played with a chip on his shoulder. We're just really excited to have him."

    Realizing he was headed for the open market, Cousins began scouring the Twin Cities area while in town for promotional appearances the week of the Super Bowl. Just two days into his visit, the Smith deal went down. Upon phoning home to his wife, Julie, he gave a glowing scouting report of the region.

    "This is a lifetime deal. That's the goal," Cousins said. "Yes, it's a three-year deal, but the expectation from both sides is that we raise our kids here and if everything goes as planned, we're here for a long time."

    The Vikings began the day $50 million under their salary cap , according to NFL Players Association data, and the deal with Cousins will take up almost half of that with the prospect of expensive extensions looming in the coming year for players such as linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

    They still have space to make more improvements this month, though and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was already at the new facility on Thursday for a visit. Richardson, a first-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2013 draft Youth Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys , was traded to the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season.

    The checklist for the Nashville Predators is getting shorter as the regular season winds down.

    Kyle Turris scored the only goal in the shootout to lift the Predators over the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Tuesday night to snap a three-game skid.

    The win clinched the defending Western Conference champions home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The franchises first Central Division title also is in reach, with Nashville leading Winnipeg by five points for both the top seed in the West and in the division with six games remaining apiece. Nashville wrapped up its division schedule by going 18-5-3.

    We took another step closer tonight to achieving that goal and keep on getting wins, and finish as high as we can, Predators forward Scott Hartnell said. Its just been great efforts the whole year long, and especially tonight a big effort by everybody.

    Nashville also moved three points ahead of Tampa Bay in the chase for the Presidents Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Predators visit Tampa Bay on Sunday.

    Roman Josi scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves.

    Rinne turned away Nino Niederreiter in the shootout. Zach Parises attempt went wide left, and Rinne stopped Mikko Koivu to clinch it.

    I thought it was our best game for a while now, Josi said. I thought we played really well. I thought we played really well defensively, they didnt have too many chances, and (Rinne) was there for us whenever they did have a chance. I thought it was a complete effort from us, and its good to be back in the win column.

    Eric Staal tied it for Minnesota with 3:15 left on his 40th goal this season.

    Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves as Minnesota snapped a five-game point streak. The Wild still won the season series against Nashville, 3-2.

    It was a great point, said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau with Minnesota third in the Central and three points ahead of St. Louis. Thats, right now, they are the best team in the league, and we played them inch for inch.

    The Predators thought they had scored 40 seconds into overtime on a slap shot by Ryan Ellis. Minnesota challenged for offside Jalyn Holmes Jersey Elite , and the goal was overturned on review because Turris right skate was a few inches ahead of the puck past the blue line.

    I was right on the line on the bench and I figured it might be offside, but great job of still getting it done after, Josi said of the erased goal.

    Rinne stopped Staal twice in overtime, and Mikael Granlund hit the far post with 1:07 left.

    Turris shot first for Nashville in the shootout, and he skated up before going across the slot and beating Dubnyk stick-side .

    Nashville returned home for three games mired in a skid that matched its longest this season. Playing in front of the 99th consecutive sold-out crowd didnt hurt as the Predators improved to 26-8-4 in the place known as Smashville.

    The Predators came out throwing pucks at Dubnyk, and Josi put Nashville up 1-0 with a slap shot from the point off the faceoff that went under Dubnyks glove 2:51 into the game.

    Jordan Greenway made his NHL debut after finishing his college career at Boston University and signing a three-year entry level deal with Minnesota. Greenway was welcomed by a big check from Hartnell midway through the first period.

    This is a tough game for a young mans career, but I thought he handled it well, Boudreau said of Greenway.

    Nashville missed plenty of chances to pad its lead, going scoreless on four man advantages through the first two periods.

    Staal tied it by beating Rinnes left skate inside the post.

    NOTES: Staal joined Gordie Howe as the only players to go at least nine years between 40-goal seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Howe went 12 seasons between his 44 goals in 1956-57 and 44 goals in 1968-69. Staal scored 40 in 2008-09, and this is his third 40-goal season. Nashville won its most divisional games since also winning 18 in 2007-08. Turris now has six goals on 13 shots in the shootout this season.


    Wild: Host Dallas on Thursday night.

    Predators: Host Sharks on Thursday night.


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