MN Vikings: Time To Dump Cousins

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Feb 9, 2008
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For all the difficulty he's caused, for all he'll yet cause, for his idiocy, dump Kirk Cousins​

JANUARY 1, 2022 — 11:47AM by Jim Souhan, Mpls. Star-Tribune

There has never been a Vikings disappointment more predictable than Kirk Cousins testing positive for COVID and being ruled out of a game that would have been his last chance to save the jobs of the people foolish enough to have signed him.

Cousins' idiocy means that, on Sunday, Sean Mannion will start in his place and, fittingly, Mannion's presence on the roster is one of the ramifications of overpaying Cousins. Paying Cousins like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL meant that the Vikings couldn't afford a quality backup.

Mannion, 29, has thrown 74 NFL passes, three of which were interceptions and none of which were touchdowns. The Vikings are now almost certain to lose at Lambeau Field on Sunday, which would likely eliminate them from the playoff race.

Had Cousins gotten vaccinated, it is possible that he could have still tested positive and missed a game. By going unvaccinated all season, he increased the odds that a positive test would keep him out of a game. The season before the Vikings signed Cousins, they went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. If they lose on Sunday at Lambeau Field, they will have missed the playoffs in three of Cousins' four seasons and will be 14-19 since his lone playoff win — at New Orleans following the 2019 season.
Cousins' effectiveness as a passer has earned him the support of a faction of fans swayed by his raw statistics. Which proves that team sports are about much more than raw statistics.

Cousins is a good passer, not a good quarterback. Being a quarterback requires more than completing passes. Being a franchise quarterback means leading, and elevating those around you, and managing difficult situations. Cousins is not a leader. He has not elevated his franchise. His paycheck and limitations make him the personification of a difficult situation.

The 2021 Vikings could have been quite good. Had Harrison Smith gotten vaccinated, he might have helped them win in Baltimore. Had Dalvin Cook gotten vaccinated, he might have helped them beat the Rams last Sunday. Had Cousins stayed available to play Sunday in Lambeau, he might have helped the Vikings engineer a season-saving upset.

This team should be 9-6 and headed to the playoffs. Instead, Cousins watched Smith and Cook miss games, and admitted last week that COVID was spreading through the organization, and still refused to get vaccinated. Cousins stiff-armed the advice and wishes of everyone in the Vikings hierarchy and the entire medical staff of the team and league. Cousins is not a franchise quarterback. He is not a leader. He is not worth the money the Vikings are paying him.

He may have ensured that GM Rick Spielman and Coach Mike Zimmer will lose their jobs.

Cousins will make a guaranteed $35 million in 2022, the last year of his contract. His contract will carry a $45 million salary cap charge in 2022. If the Vikings let him play out his contract, his salary will keep them from spending much money on necessary roster improvements. If they extend his contract to lower his 2022 salary, they will be locking in a quarterback who is 58-59-2 as an NFL starter and 32-29-1 with the Vikings.

If they trade him, they will take a massive financial hit. If I were a Wilf, Vikings' owners, I'd be tempted to release Cousins today, or to trade him as soon as possible. He's going to damage them financially no matter what they do.

Stop letting him damage the Vikings franchise, as well. Kick this fool out of Minnesota.

Jim Souhan is a sports columnist for the Star Tribune. He has worked at the paper since 1990, previously covering the Twins and Vikings.
RSteve: Cousins, prior to his signing with the Vikings, when he was with Washington, had an 18% winning record against teams with winning records. It's less now.