A Kirk Cousins ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ Has Ignited

Kirk Cousins Riddle
Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins at press conference during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The usual subject of social media debate is once again the focus of another discussion. Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, is a controversial player even though most people with knowledge of the game know what he brings to the table and his limitations.

A Kirk Cousins ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ ‘Has Ignited

A Kirk Cousins Hall of Fame Debate Has Ignited
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

He is a controversial player, and it is not his fault. Cousins is a four-time Pro Bowler who plays at a borderline top-10 level every season. The statistics back it up. There are some years in which he should be ranked 13th. In others, he easily clears the ten best QBs in football, but it is always somewhere in the neighborhood of that tenth spot. He is an excellent passer but lacks mobility and playmaking ability outside of the pocket, which limits his ceiling. The consensus should be he is a good but not great player.

However, for some reason, many NFL fans view him as a meme — someone to joke about. NFL talking heads often revert to their argument, ‘Come on, he is Kirk Cousins’ instead of giving him some respect and credit, which is obviously the reason why casual fans are convinced that he is the second coming of Christian Ponder. A new debate sparked on Sunday when a news account asked if Cousins is in the midst of a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

He may indeed be underrated, but to ignite a Hall of Fame debate would be overrating him. The Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, should be reserved for the best of the best. Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady should not share the honors with guys who just aren’t elite players. Consistency is valuable, but if a player doesn’t have multiple elite seasons, he shouldn’t be in the conversation to receive a gold jacket. It is not the Hall of Good.

The ESPN Recommendation
Feb 5, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings (8) throws the balls against AFC defensive end Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders (98) during game three of the 2023 Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of some hardcore Kirk fans and biased Vikings supporters, most people agreed that he shouldn’t be in. Some others believe there could be a chance down the road.

Twitter user SSG Skol said: “If he can garner a winning playoff record (defense dependent), maybe make it to a Super Bowl and a few NFC title games, then possibly!”

The quarterback has a 1-3 record as a starter in the postseason, but it should be noted that his teams were heavy underdogs in two of them. His one win came against the Saints in the 2019 wild card round on the road. Cousins added some clutch throws to his resume.

Players with postseason success have a shorter road to Canton. One example is Eli Manning, who will likely be inducted at some point despite some shaky regular seasons. Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl run with the Rams could also give him a chance despite his annually comparable production to Cousins.

Leo Sells opined: “No MVPs, OPOYs, First/Second team All-Pros, or Super Bowl rings? No chance. If Kirk gets in, that opens the door for dozens of other ‘solid’ players to get in and devalue the HOF.”

NFL Analyst Criticizes Kirk Cousins
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) celebrate the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

A player has a Hall of Fame career when he produces incredible numbers for a long time. He usually needs to be on some successful teams (especially a quarterback) and have personal accolades like Pro Bowls, All-Pro nominations, and MVPs. It also helps to be a media darling, someone everyone likes.

Cousins has the numbers if he keeps playing at that level for another two or three seasons, but the team’s success hasn’t been there. While that argument is unfair because a player is not playing by himself, and others let him down at times, it is a common standard in the NFL family to judge quarterbacks. He has also been to four Pro Bowls, but that is insufficient.

The QB deserves some more respect from both fans and media people after having a long career with consistently decent play, but the Hall of Fame is a stretch unless he and his teams can put together a couple of playoff runs.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt