It's unfortunate that the quarterback market is a complete mess. We have some of the best and most established signal-callers in football making a lot less than those who didn't even start a full season.

So is the nature of free agency, and for a guy like Kirk Cousins, who is a proven, successful player, he has an insane amount of leverage. So much that he reportedly is looking for a large portion of guaranteed money that most teams couldn't dream of putting up.  

With Adam Schefter reporting that the Broncos, Jets, Vikings and Cardinals are the four remaining contenders (someone else threw the Browns in there too), and if the asking-price rumors are true, the Vikings should be incredibly cautious with pursuing the 29-year-old gunslinger.

It's not that they can't afford him, and with a projected bump in the salary cap limit likely coming in 2019, they should be good-to-go long term. But let's take a look at the top four teams and QBs who made it to the NFC and AFC championships last season.

Case Keenum, Nick Foles, Blake Bortles and Tom Brady. Not one of those guys were even in the top 15 in contract value with Brady the closest finishing at No. 17. 

It's not to say that happens often or the position is not a worthy investment, but to have to reserve that much guaranteed money is still an obvious risk.

Andrew Luck was a sure thing a couple of seasons ago, and now trainers are protecting his shoulder as if they were undercover secret-service members. Matthew Stafford, who set the precedence for absurd guaranteed money ($92 million of his $135 million total contract guaranteed) spent 2017 wincing in pain almost every week. Not to mention, the Lions haven't won a playoff game with him since he entered the league in 2009.

Is it a bit unfair to compare all these situations? Slightly. The Vikings are, after all, currently a much better football team than the Lions and Colts, but they also proved they can are good enough to do damage with a quarterback that is considered "better-than-average." It's a shame they gave up on that idea earlier then they could have.