Kirk Cousins: the good, the bad and the mediocre

The Vikings quarterback is who everyone thought he was

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It looks like the Vikings are heading for another disappointing season.

The Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field on Sunday to take on the Packers. I could go through the whole game, a 21-16 Packers win, but that is not what I am here to write about

Kirk Cousins is the topic of discussion.

The Vikings got down 21-0 in the 1st quarter against the Packers. For the remainder of the game, the Vikings defense did not allow a single point, and Dalvin Cook and the Vikings running game shredded the Packers.

The single reason the Vikings did not come away with was the inept play of their quarterback. Yes, the defense had a bad first quarter. Yes, their kicker missed two kicks. However, Kirk Cousins and his three turnovers, one of them a backbreaking interception, were the reason the Vikings lost.

I have never met Cousins in my life. Odds are I never will. I know nothing about him outside of his name, age and job description. However, this man has the most power over the mood I am in for 5 months out of the year.

As of right now, I am frustrated, disappointed and upset. Huh, I was like that for most of last season too. And the season before that. Oh, and the one before that. Weird.

I’ve been defending Cousins for almost two years now. I was not crazy about his 84 million dollar contract when he signed with the Vikings two summers ago. However, after seeing some quarterbacks get over 100 million in guarantees, it makes 84 million look more than fair.

Sure, 2018 was not great for the Vikings, but Kirk actually played pretty well. In last years trip to Green Bay, he was phenomenal. He then traded blows with the future Super Bowl-bound Rams for four quarters. He also went the road to beat Carson Wentz’s Eagles in October. Cousins had a good, not great year behind a leaky offensive line, with almost no running game.

Surely with a few improvements, he could help the Vikings take the next step.

That is what I thought anyway. Now look at me. I can barely see with all this egg on my face.

The Vikings running game is improved. Dalvin Cook looks like one of the best running backs in the league through the last two weeks. The offensive line has also gotten better. They have kept Cousins relatively clean, and are giving him time to throw.

So why has Cousin’s appeared to get worse with all these improvements? It is anyone’s guess, but I think that is just who Cousins is. Just an average quarterback who is not capable of making those around him better.

Cousins was constantly missing open guys on Sunday. He had Adam Thielen wide open on a 15 yard out on third down in the 3rd quarter and he airmailed it. He had Stefon Diggs open on a deep shot late in the 4th quarter and he overthrew him.

The Vikings are hindered by Cousins’ own incapabilities. He is good enough to win games against below average and average opponents. However, put him in a big game against a quality opponent he will fold like a piece of paper. Every. Single. Time.

My coup de grâce with Cousins came with five minutes left in last Sunday’s game. The Vikings had smashed their way down to the Packers nine-yard line. A touchdown would somehow put the Vikings up in a game that at one point looked hopeless.

On first and goal, Cousins ran a play action roll-out and was moving to his right. With a defender bearing down on him, he made a desperation throw in the back of the end zone off his back foot.

The ball fell into the waiting arms of Packers cornerback Kevin King.

All the momentum the Vikings had worked three quarters to gain vanished. Cousins was asked to make a play. He could not.

That was a bad throw, but the decision to even throw it was much worse.

Why try and force the ball on first and goal? Either throw the ball away, and live the play another down, or check it down for a short gain. There are no excuses or explanations for making that throw.

Cousins tried to play hero when he has no ability to do so. This loss still stings. The Vikings were the better team for three quarters, but their own quarterback refused to let them win that game.

Where do the Vikings and Cousins go from here? Who knows, but wherever they go, they will be there together. The Vikings are essentially married to Cousins for the rest of this year and next year.

In the future, their will be times when Cousins looks great. He will show just enough to get the hopes up of Vikings fans that maybe, just maybe he has figured it out.

I like to believe in people. I want to believe Kirk can be the dude for the Vikings. Yet time and time again, he has shown that when it matters most and the team needs him, he cannot come through.

I hope he proves me wrong. I hope I can sit here in three months and write about the division winning Vikings led by MVP candidate Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings roster is too good not to win at least eight games. Their defense is still one of the best in the league, and they have playmakers everywhere in their offense.

If they wish to take the next step and become an elite contender, they need to get better quarterback play.

The Vikings will go as far as Kirk Cousins takes them. As of right now, it looks like another disappointing, yet tantalizing season.

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