The Minnesota Vikings and the Cousins Conundrum


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We're a quarter of the way through the season already and only 4 games away from being halfway through Kirk Cousins' 3 year, 84 million dollar fully guaranteed contract.

He clearly has a lot of football left to play on his contract with the Vikings but I think it's fair to assess his play so far. So how has he played thus far? And perhaps more importantly how is he playing now?


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// 2018

Let's start with last season. On paper Cousins had a decent year. In 2018, (Cousins' first year with the Vikings) he completed the season with a 70.1 completion percentage. He threw for 4,298 yards, 30 touchdowns vs 10 interceptions, and finished with a quarterback rating of 99.7.

Passing

Year Completion % Total Yards TDs INTs Rating
2018 70.1 4,298 30 10 99.7

 

Despite the good looking numbers the Vikings ended the season with a 8-7-1 record and missed the playoffs. Cousins didn't win when he really needed to and he's received a lot of criticism for not being able to win against winning teams. Personally I think he deserves this criticism but I'm hoping he can prove his critics wrong... I just hope he does it soon.


// 2019

Let's talk now, the current 2019 season. So far the Vikings are a .500 team, with 2 wins and 2 losses. Of this small sample of 4 games so far the 2 wins came over a team with a losing record and a .500 team. The two losses were to teams that currently have winning records. This strengthens the argument against Cousins.


// Moving Forward

If the Vikings end this season without a playoff appearance and Cousins continues to lose to winning teams, what do the Vikings do next?

In my opinion the Vikings need to go into the next draft looking for a quarterback to be Cousins' replacement. The team would still have Cousins under contract for one more year (2020) which would give a rookie QB a year to get ready and not have to be thrown into the fire.

Drafting a young QB would give the Vikings hope if Cousins doesn't pan out in 2020. It would put the team in a position where they're not desperate to find a QB in 2020 after Cousins' departure. Letting Cousins go after 2020 would also free up money that could be spent on players we need to keep, like Dalvin Cook and Pat Elflein who would both become unrestricted free agents in 2021.

I think the team can set themselves up nicely for a transition after Cousins by drafting his replacement a year early. The team should begin looking at options if this year (2019) doesn't pan out.

Get a young guy in there to sit behind Cousins and learn the playbook. It should make the transition a little easier. I also think the Vikings SHOULD keep Zimmer around as Head Coach, his contract will expire at the end of 2020 just like Cousins'.

I'd like to see us get this season turned around, but if we don't we need to start planning for the future.

SKOL VIKINGS!


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Comments 13


Well, the NFC Nort' is always an interesting division, and I'd love to see them all mixing it up all season! I used to be a Vikings fan bigly when old Fran Tarkenton was under center, BTW. Those were some great teams that just quite did not make it all the way...

30.09.2019 15:31
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I agree, it is an interesting division and with a lot of great teams and team history. The Vikings are due for a championship... I think most fans agree we're close. Sometimes it's that bit of luck that tips things in your favor and it seems like it's got to tip for us soon!

Thanks for the comments @underground!

30.09.2019 22:06
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I was excited for Cousins, but this is one position we just can't seem to get right. We have so much other talent it's frustrating to see us struggle when guys are open. We need to turn the short passing game into our running game at times, but we don't do that. When we do throw down the field, open receivers are missed... typical Vikings season

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30.09.2019 15:42
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I would like to see better O line play and a little quicker decision making by Cousins, perhaps with a little better accuracy.... but let's not dwell on the problems. Let's look to the future!

Either Cousins gets better and things turn around this season or we look at next season and plan for his departure by grabbing a QB in the next draft!

Getting a franchise QB isn't easy and the Vikings have been trying to find the guy for a VERY long time. Believe me, I understand the frustration... but let's give him the season to turn it around. If he doesn't then maybe he's not the guy and we plan for the search to continue.

Thanks for the comments @senstless

30.09.2019 22:03
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Cousins has been a dumpster fire! Still thinking they shouldโ€™ve kept Keenum around. I know he isnโ€™t playing all that well currently, but his gritty style worked for the Vikes. How can you get into the playoffs with a guy, and never give him a shot the next season?

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01.10.2019 00:08
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Cousins has been struggling this year to be sure but it's early still. The thing I find frustrating is that on paper, he looks good. He's been consistent in putting up glamorous numbers that have no doubt helped him get his big contract... but can the guy win when you really need him? Can he be clutch? So far it doesn't seem that way.

As for Keenum... I like Keenum, he's a good guy and had a magical year (just one) with the Vikings, but I will be surprised if he is a starter on any team next year. I think he had one great year with a team that made him look better than he really is. And he was able to get a big pay day out of it from Denver so good for him! Who know, maybe he'll be back in Minny after Cousins for the 2021 season?!?

01.10.2019 15:53
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I do agree with you that we should be looking at a high draft pick for a QB. I think they should do that anyways, regardless of Cousins performance. Weโ€™ve already lost of chance of taking the NFC north division.

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01.10.2019 16:00
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Picking a QB in the draft next year is simply planning for the future. Like you said, regardless of how Cousins pans out this year he's only under contract for one more year (after this year.) We need to be thinking about our next move.

As for the division, we're not out of it yet. We're sitting just two wins behind in the division. If we win 2 more games and everyone else loses we're back on top. There's still a lot of football to play this season. It's too early to give up.

On the subject of Cousins, I find it interesting that he receives so much flak for losing to winning teams yet other QBs with the same issue don't get as much attention for the same stat. Take Matthew Stafford for example. The guy has a horrible record against winning teams. Either Cousins is overly criticized or guys like Stafford need to be criticized more.

01.10.2019 18:25
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The QB position in the NFL in general this year is crazy. There are a lot of replacements out there this year that are doing a better job leading their teams. For instance, Danny "Dimes" Jones, Gardner Minshew, Teddy Bridgewater and Mason Rudolph. All of these guys are backups that are already playing this year for quite a few games, if not the rest of the year. All of these guys are out playing Cousins. He's just an expensive burden on Minnesota.8928836.jpeg

01.10.2019 23:37
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Thielen loves Kirk lately...
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01.10.2019 23:43
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I agree this year is a crazy year for QBs in the NFL. A lot of starters have been replaced because of injuries, bad play (Manning, Keenum?), and retirement (Luck). Every week seems more unpredictable apart from the teams that still have their starters.

Cousins needs to play better, we all know that. But so does the rest of this football team. The Defense looked mediocre against the Bears 2nd string QB. The Offensive line was absolutely terrible (6 sacks allowed). Play calling and game plan was bad, which falls on coaching. The whole team needs to better.

Every team has a few big contracts that can be seen as burdens on the team. Paying Sam Bradford 20 million just to play one or two games comes to mind.

I haven't given up on Cousins yet. I think he can turn things around. The great news is that if he can't, he's only under contract for this year and next year. The Vikings will be able to move on from him in a year and some change if things don't pan out.

Give the guy this year. It's still early! We have time to right the ship. If we miss the playoffs again start getting excited about drafting a rookie QB to replace him.

02.10.2019 14:58
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