Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been one of the prolific passers in the league since he first became the Washington Redskins’ full time starter in 2015. In his three full seasons at the helm he complied three consecutive 4,000 yard seasons, including a 4,917 yard season in 2016. In those three seasons Cousins led the Redskins to only one playoff appearance, a wild-card round loss in 2015. Some blamed Cousins, others blamed head coach Jay Gruden for the lack of playmakers around cousins. The Redskins went out and drafted more playmakers over the next two seasons (Josh Doctson, Semaje Perine, etc.) to no avail. The Skins then failed to make the playoffs over the next two seasons and their quarterback who had set many Redskins records in just three seasons as the starter, moved on.
Cousins then settled in the Minnesota Vikings on what was the largest contract in NFL history based on year-to-year salary. Doubt then crippled into the minds of football fans such as myself who felt that the contract was a big haul for a player who hadn’t proved much besides the fact that he had a good arm. Nonetheless, the Vikings had better offensive weapons (Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Adam Theilen) to go along with a better defense than what the Redskins had to offer. With better weapons comes higher expectations at the QB position and in a way Cousins delivered. He had a 70% completion percentage to go along with another 4,000 yard season (His fourth in a row) and 30 passing touchdowns, yet there was one glaring problem: The Vikings missed the playoffs.
The Vikings weren’t supposed to miss the playoffs in 2018. After all they were a game away from the Super Bowl in 2017 and had upgraded quarterbacks from Case Keenum to Cousins. So what happened? Well for one, running back Dalvin Cook hit the injury bug and the running game became less effective causing more teams to focus on stopping the passing game. That especially showed in the Vikings final three losses in which Cousins failed to lead his team past 10 points. In fact, Cousins and the Vikings went 0-5-1 against teams with winning records this season which isn’t exactly the recipe for success. It goes to show that when his team needed him the most, Cousins wasn’t able to deliver and prove that he was worthy of that extra fat contract that he signed over the offseason.
Can Cousins throw the football very well? Yes. Can he lead his team to worthy victories that will elevate his team? It hasn’t been seen yet. And at age 30, the time is only ticking.