2023 Highlights the Kirk Cousins Need
There is no greater question mark for the Minnesota Vikings this offseason than what the franchise does at the quarterback position. It remains likely that they will spend a high-round draft pick on a quarterback, but stability at the position has never been more valuable.
2023 Highlights the Kirk Cousins Need
Kirk Cousins has been a very good quarterback for quite some time in this league, and he has shown an ability to remain on the field consistently. Going down with an Achilles tear doesn’t really change that narrative, given its fluky reality, but the fallout has been catastrophic for Kevin O’Connell’s team.
Initially, the Vikings started a fifth-round rookie in Jaren Hall because he was the only player they had left, and then the head coach yo-yo’d between Josh Dobbs and Nick Mullens as both showed differing levels of ineptitude. Now, with Hall getting a real chance to prove himself, the bar isn’t high to clear, but 2024 demands one thing. Consistency.
The reality is that going into any given season, there are about 10 star quality quarterbacks. Every team is searching for one of them, and it’s why so many franchises make horrible decisions trying to capture lightning in a bottle. The Cleveland Browns sold their soul for Deshaun Watson, and former Vikings employee George Patton traded everything for Russell Wilson. Neither has been good, and Joe Flacco is one of the league’s best passers.
Given how many backups have played and how many teams have seen their seasons altered because of quarterbacks, finding a consistent talent is a must. Minnesota could take Caleb Williams by finding a way to get to the first overall pick, but even Bryce Young has proven that path to be laced with landmines as well.
It has never been more obvious that the Vikings must pay Kirk Cousins.
The hope would be that Cousins wants to win. His biggest detriment in purple has always been the salary cap number tied to his name. It isn’t that Cousins doesn’t bring the same skillset as Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, but an inability to build around him with a gaudy cap number certainly impacts the team. Maybe Cousins isn’t the caliber of a quarterback to win a Super Bowl on his own, but he’s definitely good enough to get the job done. To what extent he allows Minnesota to add around him remains to be seen, but that is the key.
Coming off a significant injury while being older by NFL standards, the hope would be that Minnesota and Cousins can find a sensible figure to continue utilizing his services. Cousins returning to a place where he feels comfortable could present a discount, and the uncertainty of his healing process doesn’t work in his favor. Ultimately, it should be about winning, though, and with plenty of dollars to the bottom line already, the Vikings pitching more talent around him should be enticing for what could be an eventual end result.
Even if Cousins is determined to be the answer, the Vikings can draft his protege. Rather than keeping him out of the loop like the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, getting Cousins involved who he wants to teach makes sense. Tell him that guy will sit for a year or two and learn from someone destined to get him a ring. Cousins doesn’t need to give secrets about how to take his job because that should be safe. If he goes down again, there’s a succession plan in place, but cementing what happens under center is a must.
The teams still there at the end this year have kept their passer on the field, and Cousins has displayed an ability to remain there over the course of his career. He’s still a very talented player, and using the weapons Minnesota has in place should be more than exciting. The Vikings can plan for a better future than the revolving door they have behind Cousins this year while still investing in him as their present.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.