Folks Are Running with “Cousins Isn’t Elite” as if It’s Breaking News

Kirk Cousins Wins Award Named after Packers QB
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The Minnesota Vikings employ a divisive quarterback, Kirk Cousins. He earns the eighth-most dollars per season among NFL passers.


In any given season since 2015, Cousins generally finishes statistically between the league’s 7th to 12th-best quarterback. Last year, he ranked around 9th when merging all credible metrics.

And because Cousins is afforded the eighth-most dollars leaguewide, some fans demand elite-level performance from the 33-year-old.

But he isn’t an elite quarterback.

The everlasting “Cousins debate” took another flummoxing turn on Friday when The Viking Age, a popular site covering the Vikings, broke news that declared the Vikings admitted Cousins isn’t elite.

The story was bizarre because only the fringe periphery of Vikings fans proclaim Cousins as an upper-tier QB in the same mold as Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady. Do you know any credible pundit or Vikings voice that states Cousins is a Top 3 quarterback?

Probably not.

Still, The Viking Age supported the claim by quoting general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who spoke with Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio this week, “Look, Kirk’s a really good quarterback. When you study historically what wins in the NFL, yes, elite, special quarterback play does matter. But there are other ways to win it.”

Truth be told, Adofo-Mensah’s words confirm what Vikings fans already know — the 2022 Vikings plan is to support Cousins with a roster that accommodates his strengths. The same strategy was used by the Los Angeles Rams and Matthew Stafford in 2021, and the offense for that team was coordinated by Kevin O’Connell, the new head coach of the Vikings.

Cousins as “not elite” is far from breaking news. Adofo-Mensah’s confirmation of the notion is honest and straightforward. Did Adofo-Mensah previously assert that Cousins was elite? He did not. So, it is unclear why his admission with Florio is newsworthy.

At least fans can gather from the Florio interview and The Viking Age article that the Cousins debate will rage on into the summer. And always remember — since day one, the fuss about his employment with the Vikings is about money.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).