Kirk Cousins Is Us; We Are Kirk Cousins
Let’s cut to the chase: Despite the speculation about trade possibilities, DeShaun Watson will not come to the Minnesota Vikings. This is true for several reasons, not the least of which is that Watson is just too talented. Minnesota wouldn’t know what to do with a quarterback so good.
It would confuse the rest of the team.
The primary reason is that we already have the perfect quarterback. No, Kirk Cousins is not the best quarterback, but he is the ideal man under center for Minnesota. Cousins is, in fact, the spiritual embodiment of the state and its people.
Can DeShaun Watson do things Kirk Cousins cannot, like win a game after 6 p.m. on a Sunday without it being cause for celebration in the announcer’s booth? He can. What Watson cannot do is be us, and we cannot be him, much as we might dream it.
We are Kirk Cousins.
Face it, Kirk Cousins is physically what people think when they think about Minnesota: a dweeby white guy with a Great Clips haircut who is earnestly enthusiastic about mediocrity. At his most reckless he wears the abashed smile of a youth pastor who just told a joke with the word “hell” in it.
Okay, when people think about Minnesotans they might not picture someone quite as fit as NFL QB Kirk Cousins, but you want your avatars to be a little aspirational. Of course, Cousins doesn’t represent the actual diversity of the state—but what’s more Minnesotan than failing to acknowledge our own diversity?
Regionally, Cousins is an actual cousin. He’s a FIB who grew up in Michigan (aka, Militarized Wisconsin). And he doesn’t just look Minnesotan, he exudes pure Minnesotan-ness.
Cousins is not just the spokesman for Pizza Ranch, a ranch-themed pizzeria chain where people pronounce the word “Italian” with a hard I. In the commercial he gleefully asks for an extra scoop of corn with his school-cafeteria-grade pizza pie. His eyes glimmer. He’s truly excited about that corn.
Make no mistake, Kirk Cousins is not bad, and nor are Minnesotans. Kirk Cousins is undoubtedly more talented than at least a dozen other starting quarterbacks. He’s good, but he’s not so good he’s showy about it, and being showy is a Midwestern mortal sin. Guys like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Lamar Jackson rack up playoff wins and Super Bowl victories, but they risk looking braggy about it, and might make other people feel bad. Kirk would never.
Cousins has some natural gifts that he cultivates with a tremendous work ethic. At the same time he seems like the kind of guy who only became an NFL quarterback so he could own a series of automotivie dealerships in the metro area after retirement. Sometimes before the snap you can see him dreaming about those Hyundais all lined up in shiny rows. Every car comes with a free scoop of corn.
He’s guileless, he’s eager, he’s relentlessly pragmatic, and he’s not so good he feels compelled to move to one of the coasts. He has a dorky catchphrase and a clean rap sheet. Despite his bland handsomeness, he has his own morbid preoccupations, shuffling those death rocks from one pile to another.
We can trade Kirk Cousins, but we could never trade away the Kirk Cousiness inside all of us. He is here to stay.
Minnesota, we are Kirk Cousins.