With NFL Free Agency coming up on March 14th, soon-to-be free agent Kirk Cousins is expected to gain interest from teams looking for a new quarterback. One team that pops in everyone’s minds includes the Minnesota Vikings, as they are expected to let go of Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford. Is Cousins now viewed as the best fit?
Last season, Cousins threw for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and finished with a passer rating of 93.9. In a season where Washington finished 7-9 and did not play up to expectations, Cousins was one of the few bright spots on the offense. Although he was inconsistent at times, Cousins made plays when it mattered most.
Ever since taking the starting job from Robert Griffin III in 2015, Cousins has been the case of being a quarterback that can produce amazing numbers, but is stuck on a team that does not give him the support he needs. In all reality, there is no reason Cousins should have stayed in Washington if they weren’t willing to give him the support he requested. One problem with Cousins is that he has shown to make costly mistakes, but take those out, and he is suddenly a franchise quarterback.
Led by quarterback Case Keenum, the Minnesota Vikings surprised everyone by finishing with a record of 13-3 last year, which was enough to win the NFC North and grab the second seed in the conference. In the postseason, Minnesota beat the New Orleans Saints 29-24 at the last second in order to advance to the NFC Championship game where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-7.
One reason why Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins couldn’t agree on a contract extension is due to Cousins desiring to get paid like an elite quarterback. With a free agent class that involves players like AJ McCarron, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Drew Brees, it’s obvious that outside of Brees, Cousins will be the best quarterback on the market.
He will likely ask for close to $100 million in free agency, and there are several teams like the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, and the New York Jets, who are all looking for a starting quarterback.
If Minnesota is able to land Cousins, he will already have a productive running game, which is something he never had in Washington. This would be headlined by a favorite for Rookie of the Year last year before getting injured in Dalvin Cook, and a solid backup in Latavius Murray. With receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Cousins would have a fair amount of talent on the offensive side of the ball.
In Washington, Cousins always had a problem being protected. He was sacked 26 times in 2015, 23 times in 2016, and 38 times in 2017. Comparing the Minnesota offensive line to the one in Washington, Cousins should be tempted by what the Vikings have to offer up front.
Another aspect Minnesota can provide Kirk Cousins with is a phenomenal defense, which was ranked 1st in the league in yards allowed in 2017. With players like Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks, and Xavier Rhodes, Cousins will no longer have to worry about the defense allowing more than 25 points per game like he did in Washington.
Outside of money, the most important aspect of playing professional sports is winning, which Cousins has a chance of doing in Minnesota. Even though the Vikings may not be able to offer Cousins the most money, they can offer him the best opportunity to win a championship right now.
All the other aforementioned teams may be interested in Cousins, and will be willing to offer more money than Minnesota, but none of those teams can provide Cousins the support he needs. According to reports, the Vikings have already offered Cousins a three-year deal worth $91 million dollars at a fully-guaranteed rate.
At the end of the day, the Vikings have no quarterback on the active roster at the moment, but the front office is willing to move on from Keenum, Bradford, and Bridgewater in order to sign Cousins. With the money that the team is rumored to be offering him, Cousins to Minnesota sounds like the perfect fit.
Photo Credit Mark Tenally/Associated Press