鈥?Kirk Cousins is predictably the top priority on Minnesota’s offseason shopping list.The free agent quarterback is on the verge of a big payday at age 29 Taven Bryan Youth Jersey , his first time on the open market.Cousins will meet Wednesday with the Vikings once the new league year begins, his agent Mike McCartney said Tuesday. ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources, Cousins will sign a fully guaranteed, three-year $84 million contract with the Vikings, but McCartney said no deal was in place and no decision has been made yet.“We’ve only agreed to visit Minnesota first,” McCartney said.The Vikings are banking on this being his last trip, too.With contracts expiring for Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, plenty of space under the salary cap and coming off an appearance in the NFC championship game, the Vikings have long presented the most desirable destination for Cousins.Their defense, until faltering over the last five quarters of the team’s run in the playoffs, is stacked with stars and directed by one of the league’s long-time experts in coach Mike Zimmer. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have formed a dangerous young duo of wide receivers, combining for 2,125 yards during the regular season. Dalvin Cook Authentic Andy Dalton Jersey , whose rookie year was cut short by a torn ACL, is expected back at full strength for offseason workouts.Minnesota has a sparkling stadium, the site of Super Bowl 52, and the organization just moved into new state-of-the-art suburban headquarters with top-of-the-line practice fields and training facilities just last week.“I haven’t had the chance to pick where I’m going to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State, so I’m looking forward to that opportunity,” Cousins said in Minnesota the week of the Super Bowl during an appearance on SiriusXM satellite radio. “I think it’s a pretty short checklist. At the end of the day, I want to win.”Drafted in the fourth round by Washington in 2012, the same year the Redskins took Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick, Cousins has topped 4,000 passing yards in each of the last three seasons. As a full-time NFL starter, he has completed 67 percent of his throws for 81 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and a 97.5 passer rating.Unable to agree on a long-term deal with the club, Cousins signed franchise tag tenders each of the last two years to make market-rate money (about $20 million in 2016 and $24 million in 2017) and push out his first experience with free agency. Once Washington agreed to acquire Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs, Cousins became one of the most valuable quarterbacks ever available on the open market 鈥?a starting QB in his prime.Though Cousins has never won a postseason game as a pro, the combination of his age Cody Bellinger Jersey , durability and productivity is unparalleled in comparison to the caliber of usual free agents at the sport’s most critical position. Last year, the Vikings waited until April 3 to sign Keenum for $2 million.If the Cousins contract is indeed finalized, he’ll be the eighth quarterback to start a season opener for the Vikings in the last nine years. Bridgewater’s devastating knee injury right before the 2016 season wrecked his quest to become the long-term leader of the offense and face of the franchise. The Vikings have otherwise been finding stopgap solutions since moving on from 2011 first-round draft pick Christian Ponder.Bradford, the emergency replacement for Bridgewater, produced a career-best performance to start 2017 before redeveloping his own knee trouble. In stepped Keenum, whose breakout year led the Vikings to a 13-3 record and Zimmer’s first win in the playoffs.Bradford and Bridgewater presented obvious health risks, and Zimmer always came across as skeptical of Keenum’s ability to keep up his success. With a new offensive coordinator in John DeFillipo, the quarterbacks coach for Super Bowl champion Philadelphia, the Vikings can reset their scheme to the preferences and strengths of Cousins.If negotiations hit a snag, there would be no clear backup plan in place for the Vikings. Keenum is bound for the Denver Broncos. Bradford is close to a deal with the Arizona Cardinals and Bridgewater was being targeted by the New York Jets.
They’ve been taking action for two weeks now in New Jersey, where basketball great Julius Erving helped kick things off with a $5 bet on the Philadelphia Eagles to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Sports betting is here, and it’s not going anywhere soon. States are embracing their newly won right to offer wagers, and fans are responding by lining up at the betting windows to throw a few bucks on their favorite teams.
And, surprisingly enough to some, the major sports leagues have – so far at least – somehow managed to survive.
No one has tried to fix anything DJ Moore Jersey , as the NFL for years claimed would happen if sports betting was legalized. No one has cried foul over some shenanigans going on in a game.
And, best of all, no greedy sports league has managed to dip its fingers into the pie.
That may change if New York eventually passes a sports betting bill that didn’t make the cut with legislators this year. Proposed legislation there calls for a 0.2 percent cut of betting revenue for the sports leagues, which claim they need it to pay for extra expenses associated with legal sports betting.
It’s a bad idea, nothing more than a money grab by leagues that for years decried sports betting as immoral and a threat to their games – until they figured out there might be some money to be made on it.
But if the anecdotal evidence of two weeks of legal betting in a few states is any indication, there’s a ton of money to be made.
A report released Wednesday by GamblingCompliance, a Washington-based research firm, predicted sports betting will be legal in 25 to 37 states within five years. Billions of dollars will be wagered, with gross gaming win expected to top $5 billion by 2023 alone.
That translates into total wagering of some $100 billion a year alone, a staggering figure 20 times what was bet legally in Nevada last year.
Bookies will get their cut, and so will the states taxing the winnings. The report predicts New Jersey and Pennsylvania will surpass Nevada in sports betting revenue within five years, with just over $300 million in win each, and New York will likely end up being the biggest sports betting market in the nation once legislation is passed there to legalize it – especially if it includes online betting.
”Online sports betting in New York is single biggest opportunity we see emerging in next few years,” said James Kilsby, managing director of GamblingCompliance.
So far Eagles Elite Jerseys , at least, it appears the sports betting market will be robust. Bettors in New Jersey have already embraced the limited rollout there, and five other states are on track to offer betting by the upcoming NFL season.
Whether the sports leagues end up getting a piece of the action remains to be seen. New Jersey specifically cut the leagues out, not surprising because they fought the state in court for years over efforts to legalize sports betting, and there is no fee in any of the states on the verge of offering bets.
But with the so-called integrity fee floundering, the leagues are moving in another direction. The latest plan involves charging for the use of stats generated in their games because, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month, ”it’s ultimately our intellectual property, and we think we should be compensated for it.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said much the same thing at the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas.
”If you’re going to allocate for yourself to run a business on our intellectual property and the performance of our athletes and the platform that we put on for our games, we’re entitled to be involved in that,” Bettman said.
Unfortunately for the leagues, that ship has mostly sailed. Nevada built up a respectable – and profitable – sports betting business over the years with no help from the leagues, who fought sports betting at every turn and often warned about dire moral consequences should it be legalized outside the state.
For them to now want a cut of the action would be laughable if they weren’t so serious about it.
The bottom line is the NBA didn’t want anything to do with Las Vegas or legal betting. Neither did Major League Baseball or the NFL, which just a few years ago wouldn’t even allow Las Vegas hotels to advertise on the Super Bowl broadcast because it was fearful that would somehow taint the game.
To reward them now would be nearly as foolish as banning sports betting was in the first place.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or .