Recent News Proves Silver Lining of Kirk Cousins’ Injury

kirk cousins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Kirk Cousins’ devastating injury news hit the Vikings hard, but they have made the best out of it. Losing the leader, the heart and soul of the team, someone the locker room rallied around and embraced his personality, shouldn’t be easily fixed. Adding a new guy in place of the injured quarterback has resulted in a Minnesotan fairytale.

Recent News Proves Silver Lining of Kirk Cousins’ Injury

Recent News Proves Silver
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah acquired Joshua Dobbs right before the trade deadline. The Vikings initially wanted rookie Jaren Hall to have the first chance to win the starting gig, but a concussion jeopardized that dream. Dobbs’ wonderful play completely put those thoughts to rest. Barring an injury or a horrendous decline of play, Dobbs should be expected to be the guy going forward.

So far, Dobbs has pulled off two unlikely wins with a lot of high-level play. It remains to be seen if he can continue to play at that level under the tutelage of Kevin O’Connell with a plethora of weapons surrounding him. Minnesota’s answer to the significant setback of losing the starting quarterback was found on the trade market.

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

But not every team is as fortunate as the Vikes in a similarly bleak situation. The Cleveland Browns have lost Deshaun Watson for the season, and the division rivals Bengals have lost Joe Burrow. Watson sustained a fractured shoulder, while Burrow suffered a torn ligament in his wrist. Losing a starting quarterback always stinks. The backups are backups and not starters for a reason. Only a few replacements are outliers.

The Browns, under former Vikings’ offensive coordinator and now head coach in Cleveland, Kevin Stefanski, will start rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson after veteran journeyman P.J. Walker started a couple of games earlier in the season when Watson wasn’t available.

Injured Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) paces the sideline in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 11 game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. The Bengals fell to the Ravens, 34-20.

The Bengals and their head coach, Zac Taylor, subbed in Jake Browning once Burrow got hurt. A veteran player, Browning went undrafted in 2019 and signed with the Vikings. The former Washington Huskie’s passer was a heralded college signal caller, throwing for over 12,000 yards and racking up 94 passing scores, adding 16 more on the ground.

At the NFL level, however, Browning was a practice squad player for two seasons in Minnesota and one in Cincinnati. Beating out another former Vikings’ QB, Trevor Siemian, in the preseason, he earned the backup gig and will now be the starter from now on, barring any surprise additions.

QBs after Week 15
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The main difference between those two AFC North teams and the Vikings is that the latter had the chance to trade for a new quarterback, as the injury happened before the trade deadline. The Browns and the Bengals are stuck with what they have and the remaining free agents. Those include some veterans with lots of experience long past their primes, like Colt McCoy, Joe Flacco, and Nick Foles, and some retired players like Matt Ryan.

Both the Browns and the Bengals have good teams that could’ve made noise in the playoffs, even in the strong AFC, but are most likely a quarterback away now. Minnesota, meanwhile, cruised to back-to-back victories behind Dobbs, who has been taking the league by storm in the last 12 days with his unlikely but spectacular play.

The Vikings will meet the Bengals in Week 15, perhaps with Browning but certainly without Burrow under center, making the matchup easier, at least on paper. Sometimes timing is important, and the Vikings were lucky in that regard, although losing a starting QB is devastating regardless of the time frame.

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