Analyst Reignites Beef with Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins Riddle
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Kirk Cousins has been one of the most reliable quarterbacks since he became a starter in 2015 in Washington. He joined the Vikings in 2018, and all he has done since that signing is play football at a high level.

That high level doesn’t come close to the likes of Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, or Aaron Rodgers, but it is much better than more than half of the NFL passers. Regardless of what he is doing, Cousins is always a punching bag in the media. Why is that the case? The answer is simple. It works. Casual fans don’t know better, especially because nobody is watching every game in the NFL. They simply believe the talking heads know what they are talking about, but they lack nuance and fairness in their analysis.

Analyst Reignites Beef with Kirk Cousins

Analyst Reignites Beef with Kirk Cousins
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Is Cousins an elite quarterback? No, he is not. Is he a good and reliable quarterback? Yes, he is. No matter how much a person likes or dislikes the four-time Pro Bowler, he should be ranked right inside the ten best QBs or right outside year in and year out. His production annually ranks him inside the top 10 in many categories and different statistics, but nobody seems to care.

The usual comment in TV and social media debates is simply, “Come on, he’s Kirk Cousins,” in a snarky and disrespectful manner. This is an empty argument in a world where everything is tracked and counted. There are thousands of statistics to back up an opinion, but who needs facts when it comes to Cousins? It’s much easier just to disregard him.

The latest disrespectful piece of evidence comes from PFF’s Sam Monson, a writer and podcaster for the analytically driven site. He started a thought experiment in which he added one franchise legend to every team in the league.

And guess who the Vikings received as reinforcement for their 2023 season. No, it was not Randy Moss or Alan Page. It was a quarterback. You were also wrong if you thought the Vikings’ new starting QB was Fran Tarkenton, the unquestioned best QB in Vikings history, a Hall of Famer who has his number retired from the Vikings for a reason. Instead of him, Monson picked Daunte Culpepper, the passer of some explosive Vikings offenses in the early 2000s.

It immediately ignited a debate on Twitter. Culpepper and Cousins are both in the same boat of quarterbacks who don’t come close to the greatness of Tarkenton, the MVP in 1975, a nine-time Pro Bowler, and a player who retired as the all-time leader in many passing numbers.

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For Culpepper speaks his peak. He was quite fantastic in a couple of seasons. He made second-team All-Pro in 2004 and led the league in passing touchdowns in 2000 and yards in 2004. However, his frustrating fumble problem and injuries slowed him down, eventually ending his tenure in Minnesota. Three of his Vikings seasons were quite disastrous, he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns in a couple of them, and it was close once more.

Cousins isn’t perfect, and there are a bunch of better QBs in the league. However, he is far from the problem of the organization, with his usual 30 touchdowns and 4,000 passing yards every year like clockwork. So why would the Vikings try to slightly upgrade at best? Maybe it’s even a downgrade, the QB position? At this point, only Monson knows the answer.

It gets even funnier after realizing the Packers added Reggie White. While White is one of the best defenders of all time and certainly deserves consideration, the Packers have Jordan Love as their starting QB, and Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers could upgrade that position for them. So why not upgrade a worse QB than Cousins with a better QB than Culpepper?

However, it is not the first time Monson caused an uproar in the Vikings community. It was roughly six months ago after the Vikings finished the largest comeback in NFL history. Of course, Kirk Cousins was a crucial part of that effort — you would think. Someone with a different opinion was, you guessed it, Monson in his Profootballfocus podcast.

People are complaining about Kirk Cousins’ [PFF grade] in this game. Cousins didn’t do that much in this game. Like he didn’t start driving this comeback with a bunch of big-time throws and amazing play and stuff.

Cousins received a PFF grade of 60.8 in Week 15, which would rank him between Carson Wentz and Davis Mills over the full season. Wentz is still looking for a job, while C.J. Stroud replaced Mills in the draft.

These Vikings Are Designed
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings’ passer wasn’t perfect in that epic game. He threw two interceptions, but both were clearly Jalen Reagor’s fault. Minnesota was at home and trailed 33-0 at halftime in the quiet and stunned U.S. Bank Stadium. Some fans left, and others were thinking about leaving. Many of the remaining fans booed, for good reason. It was an awful performance in the first half. The team somehow did the unthinkable and came back from that enormous deficit. It was the largest comeback ever.

Cousins, who apparently didn’t do much, threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns in the second half and overtime alone. It was another NFL record for the most yards after halftime. An NFL team can’t march up and down the field and seamlessly move the ball to score 36 points in a half if the quarterback doesn’t do much. That’s not how football works.

Despite the bad pick of Culpepper, the thought of adding a legend to the franchise is a fun one, and the Vikings have some candidates.

The current Vikings roster could use some support on defense. Someone from the Purple People Eaters could help. Alan Page was an MVP, the only defensive lineman ever to win the award. Carl Eller was a phenomenal edge rusher, and Jim Marshall was the heart and soul of the organization for almost two decades.

Thursday Could Be the Best Day in the Life of Vikings Legend
Defensive end Jared Allen. © Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY Sport.

Jared Allen played in the modern league and is easier to project onto the current team. Imagine Allen hunting passers next to Danielle Hunter. Chris Doleman recorded 21 sacks in 1989 and is a Hall of Famer.

Defensive tackle and Hall of Famer John Randle has always been undersized, but he was one of the most feared players in his heyday. He was a six-time All-Pro. The cornerback room could also use some help. Xavier Rhodes was phenomenal in 2017, and Antoine Winfield Sr. could also be an option. Neither of them played long ago, so they would fit the era.

The offensive stars in Vikings history are also fun to imagine on the 2023 Vikings. How about Randy Moss lining up on the left side and Justin Jefferson on the right side? Good luck stopping that. Cris Carter and Jefferson aren’t easy to stop, either.


Or what if Adrian Peterson lined up in the backfield? The unstoppable 2012 version of him paired with a quarterback who can punish the defenses who were regularly stacking the box with eight guys. Chuck Foreman played in the 70s but is built for today’s game. He led the league in receptions as a running back in 1975 and could be a real dual threat in the modern league.

Offensive lineman Randall McDaniel could fix the offensive line. He was a nine-time first-team All-Pro and is a Hall of Famer. McDaniel was a fantastic player and would fix one of the team’s weaknesses at guard. Then there is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, the aforementioned Tarkenton. He revolutionized the game with his scrambling mentality, something that coaches in the past didn’t like, but he would, like Foreman, be perfect in 2023.

Monson had plenty of Vikings to choose from. He just picked the wrong one for inexplicable reasons.

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