1 Viking Has Never Been More Popular
Kirk Cousins joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 after a trip to the NFC Championship game and was supposed to be the missing piece to make it to the final game for the first time in decades and finally win a Super Bowl championship. After six seasons, that hasn’t worked out, but he surely has impacted the organization.
1 Viking Has Never Been More Popular
The quarterback has always been controversial for inexplicable reasons, as he is a likable person off the field and a solid football player on it. Ever since he came into the league in 2012, all he has done is beat expectations. Drafted as a fourth-rounder, Cousins has been a starter in the NFL for nine seasons, ranking close to the top in all major counting statistics.
He has also never been in doubt about keeping a starting job, whether in Washington, where the franchise let him walk or in Minnesota, where he has had his chokehold on the QB1 spot since his arrival.
Cousins has his doubters, and the narratives are endless. He can’t win in primetime or beat a good team, and let’s not even start talking about Mondays or supposedly missing leadership qualities. Parts of the fan base didn’t want him to begin with as they wanted to stick with Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater, and another (loud) portion of the fans has been trying to get rid of the signal-caller for years.
However, something changed, and his worth became more prominent as life without Cousins suddenly became less fun, with a carousel at the most critical position on the field. The backups are a disaster, turnover machines with limited arm talent, especially compared to the four-time Pro Bowler.
Archrivals of the veteran, the poster boy of this stance might be Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk, who hasn’t been shy of criticizing Cousins in the past few years, wanting his favorite team to move in a different direction to leave purgatory, his favorite word to describe Cousins and the Vikings.
Well, once the Cousins-led Vikings managed to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in primetime, his tone changed, and he wanted the team to extend his deal, becoming Kirk’s biggest fan. Many other fans joined him and made a similar transition as he perhaps played the best games of his life, looking comfortable in the offensive system but also at the podium talking to the media.
Sadly, just one week later, a devastating Achilles injury changed everything: the season but also the future.
Now, Cousins is 35 years old (36 when the 2024 season begins) and coming off a bad injury. His contract will expire after the season, and the Vikings must decide if they want to stick with him for another year and possibly beyond that or acquire a different passer in the draft, free agency, or via trade.
The terrible QB play sans Cousins might have changed the decision-makers’ minds although it should be noted that the new veteran replacement wouldn’t be a backup quarterback or late-round flier but someone of starting caliber like Baker Mayfield or Russell Wilson.
In addition to that, it depends on Cousins’ asking price and the long-term commitment he demands compared to what the franchise is willing to offer. If they can find common ground, there is a decent chance he will be back for another year, but if they can’t, they will likely look for a rookie quarterback to take his job.
All those things were expected when the Vikings entered the 2023 season, but one thing has changed since then. While there would’ve been a loud sigh a year ago, with the new appreciation, fans of the organization would be happy to have a reliable starting quarterback. That became obvious when he led the Skol Chant and blew the Gjallarhorn leading up to the Packers game in Week 17, and the stadium exploded.
The decision about his future will be made soon as his contract is set to void in February. Cousins ranks second in passing touchdowns and third in yards in franchise history.
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