How Do The Vikings Upgrade on Kirk Cousins?

To put it simply, there aren’t any real upgrades available any time soon. Unless of course, you can convince Deshaun Watson to come (which apparently, he has no intention of doing). Otherwise, you’re stuck experimenting with a young quarterback who would need time and patience and would also eat into the prime years of some of our best players while we wait for this new undeveloped quarterback to get comfortable in the NFL. Or maybe the Vikings want to get caught up in this quarterback merry-go-round which involves about half the league. Either way, the choice is yours on how you would like to move on from Cousins.

What do the numbers say?

Whether Vikings fans choose to accept this or not, Kirk Cousins is a top 10 quarterback in this league. Not only do the numbers support this fact, but the numbers also make a very strong case that Cousins should be quite high on that list. Since coming to the Vikings he has thrown 91 touchdown passes (5th behind Mahomes, Wilson, Brady, and Rodgers) and is graded 7th by PFF since that time. All this while being the 5th most sacked quarterback in that time (107). In 2020, the Vikings were 15th in passes attempted, despite being on a run-heavy team (run it 43% of snaps), Kirk was 7th in passing yards and 6th in touchdown passes. Despite consistently producing at well above average level, many Vikings are yet to be convinced by Kirk Cousins. Which begs the question, why? Is it because he doesn’t perform in the ‘clutch’? Or is it because he is so overpaid? Well, neither of those things are true as hard as that may be for a few of you to admit. A few of you read the numbers and your first thoughts would probably be ‘garbage time numbers, they don’t count’ but again, not true. Kirk Cousins was the 2nd highest-graded quarterback in the 4th quarter this past season and lead the league in 4th quarter passer rating (136.4) while scoring a league-high 13 touchdowns (7 when the game is within 10 points). That’s as ‘clutch’ as your quarterback can be. It is safe to say he is worthy of the money he is being paid, but if you still think it may a little much let’s break it down a little. In 2020 Kirk Cousins’ contract was $21.000.000, making him the 15th highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. That would suggest he might be on the underpaid side of that coin. In 2021 however, he is due $31.000.000 making him the 5th highest-paid quarterback in the league. At first glance, this may seem a little high, but this doesn’t take into consideration guys like Mahomes and Watson who have recently received extensions or guys still on their rookie deals. So no, he is not overpaid.

So what is the real problem?

It seems to be a new issue with the Vikings every year and when they have managed to solve one, another one just happens to pop up. But if you for a second put your Kirk agenda to the side and look at the team from an objective standpoint. The Vikings’ biggest issue is the fact that the defense has not been able to replicate and get close to the dominant force they once were. In 2018 when the Vikings acquired Cousins, the assumption was that they would be upgrading at quarterback and things would remain intact on the other side of the ball but that never materialized. From a defense that ranked #1 in 2017, the Vikings have gradually slid down the defensive rankings to a team that finished 30th overall in 2021. For the first time in years, it was the offense that carried the team from a disastrous 1-5 start to the brink of the playoffs and ending with a more respectable 7-9 record. Losing 3 games by 3 points or less. If the defense can present any semblance of what Vikings fans are used to seeing and the offense continues to develop and grow with these young pieces the Vikings can be a serious contender, even with an overrated overpaid guy at the quarterback position.

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4 months ago

Another false narrative is that “Kirk Cousins is an immobile QB / statue in the pocket.” The Vikings run a lot of bootlegs and Kirk has ran for many first downs. He also has 16 career rushing touchdowns (Deshawn Watson has 17 career rushing touchdowns). Also, check out his forced fumble and tackle at the 2017 Pro Bowl and his tackle of Khalil Mack during Week 10 against the Bears this last year. Both were after an interception that Jimmy Graham and Adam Thielen should have caught. The man can move. My hope is that the new OC has more play calls in 2021 that have Kirk running more.


Mark S
Mark S
Reply to  Paula
4 months ago

Cousins has 721 yards in 230 carries with 16 TDs in his career in 8 seasons.

Watson has 1677 yards in 307 carries with 17 TDs in 4 seasons.

It is not even close.

Mark S
Mark S
4 months ago

You give the offense credit for coming back after the 1-5 start which is true.
You listed some stats for Kork which is true.

Here is some more information about your boy.

The Vikings paid him $40M in cash last year.
The defense was going to go with very very young corners.
Hunter and Pierce were out.
Odengibo was trying to step into starter snaps.
Any intelligent observer would have surmised that the defense was going to struggle to start the season.

What does the 8-year veteran QB do at the start of the year?
He throws 10 interceptions in the first 6 games which coincides with the 1-5 start.
He only threw 3 interceptions in the final 10 games.

You have to believe that Cousins was aware that the defense was going to have a tough time.

When they needed him the MOST, he came up the LEAST.

That start he had was inexcusable. Not when you are getting $40M in cash.

At the end of the day though, the Vikings have only been to the playoffs 1 time in 3 years with Cousins.

Regardless of if it is his “fault” or not, the money spent is turning out to be a waste of time.

It won’t get any better next year either when he has a $45M cap hit.

4 months ago

No NFL knowledge whatsoever but lovely read

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