Former Vikings LB Trusts Kirk Cousins for 2023 Super Bowl Push

Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins motions to a wide receiver during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Chicago.

Some Minnesota Vikings fans have a truculent opinion about quarterback Kirk Cousins, but a former linebacker from Cousins’ team doesn’t share the viewpoint.

He’s Ben Leber, who played for the Vikings from 2006-2010.

Former Vikings LB Trusts Kirk Cousins for 2023 Super Bowl Push

A current KSTP-TV, KFAN, and contributor, Leber is actually rather optimistic about the 2023 Vikings, unlike sportsbooks that peg the club for 8.5 wins.

LB Trusts Kirk
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Leber joined the Go Long Podcast this week and offered some fascinating Vikings takes with the regular season 16 weeks away. “The offense should be more than a top-10 offense. I think Kirk is going to have another huge year. It’s another prove-it deal, which he’s very accustomed to. It’s not going to bother him. And I trust him. I do trust the fact that he’ll compartmentalize that and put that off to the side and do the best job that he can to help this team win the Super Bowl,” Leber opined.

Cousins joined the Vikings five years ago and ranks fourth leaguewide in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards since the start of 2018.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

Leber continued about the Vikings playoff contendership in Kevin O’Connell’s second year, “This is a playoff team. But unless we show physicality on defense, unless we show a real balance on offense to run the ball when we need to, this could be another disappointing season in that we’ll make the playoffs and be bounced again like we were against the Giants.”

“The defense has been the liability. The inability to control the game defensively. We can’t stop the run consistently. Too many third-down conversions. Teams march down the field, and we have these high-scoring affairs because the defense can’t hold its water,” he added.

The Vikings ranked 27th per defensive DVOA in 2022, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed. For multiple seasons, Cousins’ detractors often declared he ‘needed everything to be perfect to win,’ but then his team fired up a 13-4 record with the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense. Unsurprisingly, the narrative was made up.

San Francisco Newspaper
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Leber aptly surmised the Vikings Super Bowl chances, as well, “No doubt, this offense is going to be good enough to win the Super Bowl. It’s just whether or not this defense can pick it up. Pick up the pieces. Figure out what this new defense looks like. Get up to speed as fast as the offense did last year.”

Minnesota hired Brian Flores in February after firing Ed Donatell in January. After multiple roster subtractions, including men like Eric Kendricks, Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Duke Shelley, Vikings fans will hope Flores can whisk a younger and more affordable defense to prominence.

If he does, Leber seems to think Cousins can deliver the special sauce on offense for a Super Bowl.

The Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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