Drew Mahowald’s Skol Scale is a tool to measure the correct amount of optimism Minnesota Vikings fans should feel toward their favorite team. The measurement is calculated on a 1 (WELP THIS SEASON IS OVER. TIME TO TANK.) to 10 (SUPER BOWL HOMEBOY) scale.
This week’s Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets matchup doesn’t move the needle like a rivalry.
But thanks to a couple of posts from the New York Post, it’s possible the Vikings are playing with the fire of a rivalry game.
The writers responsible for the following gaffes will remain nameless so they do not benefit from any publicity that may result from this written rant.
We’ll start with the guy who had apparently never heard of professional athletes building leverage in free agency and using the leverage to increase their price. The writer was upset that Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and his agent Mike McCartney essentially used the Jets’ three-year, $90 million contract offer to get the Vikings to increase their offer from $25 million per season to $28 million per season.
Hey, writer guy: Literally every professional athlete who has signed a contract as a free agent has done this.
Here’s an excerpt from the article, which, by the way, is titled, How sweet it will be for Jets to shut up classless Kirk Cousins.
“The delicious byproduct would be sticking it to Cousins, who not only spurned an outlandish free-agent contract offer of $90 million guaranteed over three years from the Jets in March, but then bragged about using them as leverage to up the Minnesota offer on a video that was posted for public consumption and — as it turned out — Jets embarrassment.
In the video, Cousins tells his wife, Julie, that “the Jets came up to 30 [million], fully guaranteed, three-year deal.”
Her response: “Whoa.”
Cousins then said, “So now we have what we wanted. [His agent, Mike McCartney] has to do the same thing with the Vikings. He’s got to get them from 25 to a number that is competitive with the Jets’ offer. But the fact that we have the Jets offer is huge. Now it gives the other teams a reason to come up.”
The end game was the Vikings upping their offer from $25 million to $28 million per year guaranteed, which Cousins agreed to.
That the video, which contained information from confidential conversations that would be embarrassing to the Jets, was signed off on to be posted to the public is — if we’re cutting the Vikings a break for being absent-minded — a clueless oversight.
But if we’re being more realistic, it was classless.
At the very least, it was cringeworthy.
Then this from Cousins in an interview about why he chose to sign with the Vikings: “Ultimately, the leadership of the organization is what set it apart.”
How exactly he would have any clue about the leadership in the Jets’ organization is curious because Cousins opted not to take a half-day out of his self-important schedule to meet Jets owner Christopher Johnson, general manager Mike Maccagnan and/or coach Todd Bowles.
So he left $6 million on the table to go to Minnesota. He chose the Mall of America over Manhattan, Olive Garden over Il Mulino.
Good for him.”
I mean, if you want to call Cousins “classless” for allowing a camera crew into his home to capture the most lucrative free-agent journey in league history, you have that right. But I also have the right to call that take for what it is — ludicrous. Absurd. Preposterous. You get the idea.
This feels like it comes from a fan blog more than a nationally-respected news outlet. How much New York bias does it take to be this salty just because the team you cover doesn’t win the top free agent of the offseason? It’s a side effect of watching the New York Yankees acquire every Major League Baseball superstar they want because they have perhaps the strongest brand in sports.
SPOILER ALERT: The Jets don’t have the brand power the Yankees do. Also, the Jets are bad.
The worst part, though, is these last two paragraphs:
When Cousins was about to sign with the Vikings, McCartney waxed on about how he was going to a place where people are “Minnesota Nice.”
Jets fans, if you have one task on Sunday, it is this: Show Cousins what “Meadowlands Nice’’ is.
He’s clearly hinting that he wants Jets fans to behave in a distasteful manner toward Cousins during the game on Sunday, right? How is that not a fireable offense? How can the New York Post allow this man still represent their organization this way?
A rational NFL fan will understand why Cousins chose the Vikings for slightly less money — a better chance to win a Super Bowl, an up-and-coming offensive coordinator and an array of explosive playmakers on offense. The Jets couldn’t match the Vikings in the football department. It’s not that complicated.
The New York Post also published an article titled, Jets’ big challenge: Little-known receiver who’s destroying NFL. No, it’s not about actually little-known Brandon Zylstra or Aldrick Robinson or even former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell.
It’s about Adam Thielen. Yes, 2017 All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, Adam Thielen. This NFL season’s leader in both receptions and receiving yards, Adam Thielen.
Adam Thielen the first “little-known” All-Pro to ever live pic.twitter.com/TYingPDHB5
— Drew Mahowald (@DrewMahowald) October 19, 2018
This Jets writer still thinks Thielen would be correctly described as a “little-known” receiver. There’s no way that person knows who the Jets receivers are, right? Zero Jets receivers have amassed *half* the number of receptions or receiving yards Thielen has through Week 6.
If Thielen is “little-known,” then what is the word for any of the Jets receivers?
This idea that Thielen is still “emerging” as a star is freaking laughable. Since the beginning of 2016, he’s fourth in receiving yards and sixth in receptions in the entire league.
Whew. Okay, now time for the Skol Scale.
Skol Scale Rating: 7.5
It’s a half-point bump for the Skol Scale after what seemed like a routine 2017 win for the Vikings. Offensively, the ground game *finally* found life after five weeks of nonexistence. Latavius Murray’s downhill, north-south running style seems to be Minnesota’s best bet with its inconsistent run blocking from the offensive line. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was bitten by the turnover bug a couple of times but continued to show stupendous accuracy when throwing with pressure in his face. All in all, a mixed bag performance for Cousins — which seems to be the theme for him at U.S. Bank Stadium this season.
Defensively, the Vikings looked like the 2017 Vikings. Arizona converted exactly zero (0) third downs throughout the game and also went 0-for-2 on fourth down. It was a vintage Mike Zimmer-versus-a-rookie-quarterback game in which Zimmer had Cardinals signal-caller Josh Rosen looking like me in high school pre-calculus class — lost, confused, and helpless.
The loss of Mike Hughes for the season will certainly dent the secondary, but Minnesota appears to be well-equipped to deal with that tough loss — and that’s not necessarily due to the depth at cornerback. Mackensie Alexander will surely be expected to step into the nickel role full-time and we should expect to see Holton Hill earn some reps at corner as well.
The safety position is where the Vikings can get creative and hide the loss of Hughes. Jayron Kearse has been excellent in the “big nickel” role while George Iloka and Anthony Harris have both added a stern presence in the box for Zimmer’s defense. It really sucks to see Hughes down for the year, but the Vikings have all kinds of depth to make up for it.
Also worth noting — Danielle Hunter is of this planet Earth.
THOSE ARMS ARE FROM A CARTOON https://t.co/JFI6w8eXy9
— Drew Mahowald (@DrewMahowald) October 19, 2018
This Sunday, the Vikings will travel to the Meadowlands to face the Jets for an interconference battle. Minnesota seems to have found its groove with back-to-back wins founded by solid defensive performances. Meanwhile, the Jets have had no problem scoring points in 2018, ranking 11th in the NFL.
New York boasts a few explosive playmakers that could give the Vikings problems. But the Vikings’ passing offense should find a rhythm early and often that will make it difficult for the Jets to keep up. Cousins has been ridiculous on the road this season, posting over 1,100 yards and eight touchdown to just one interception (which bounced right off Laquon Treadwell’s hands) in three games.
Based on that information, I’m led to believe Cousins will be well equipped to deal with another hostile road environment this Sunday.
Or, as the New York Post guy called it, “Meadowlands Nice.”
Prediction: Vikings 30, Jets 22.
Fan Skol Scale Ratings:
7.5 – high water mark for this season imo. We can build off last weeks run game vs a more competent rush D. Keep the point scoring going with more TDs than FG attempts. Feeling borderline optimistic that the team righted some wrongs
— AdamWest (@aweste1) October 18, 2018
Defense is figuring out how to work w/o Everson.
Offense will get even better when Cook gets back (eventually).
Thielen will have 100 yards in every game this season. #skol
— ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ᴡᴇᴀʀᴛ (@adamweart) October 19, 2018
Still remains a 7. The win against Arizona doesn't raise the bar because it's Arizona. Still have to avoid losing more than 3 games this season w/ 2 more road divisional games, the saints at home, Patriots on the road, n Seahawks on the road. Start those games, then we'll see
— Bubka (@Bubka2k5) October 19, 2018
8- cousins seems to have stepped into a prime leadership role, and is backing it up with his arm. defense is starting to look back to its old self, but hopefully we see everson back soon. hopefuly the dead arm dance is in full effect this weekend
— Paul Bellesen (@pbellesen) October 18, 2018
8. D seems to be getting mojo back, and hopefully will continue with Jets. True test will be to see if they can keep Saints quiet
— Isaac McCarney (@TheRoadRunner9) October 19, 2018