With MNF looming, Cousins can knock down final negative narrative (to those actually paying attention)
Last season was a season of firsts for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. As one of the few remaining defenders of Kirk Cousins (because nothing in the real world is a zero sum game, Cousins may not be Patrick Mahomes but he isn’t then by default Josh Freeman).
As such, I’ve seen all the negative narratives surrounding Cousins. Instead of bogging you down by regurgitating things that, as you’ll see, I’ve covered A LOT… I’ll just link you to the articles I wrote as Cousins knocked down negative narrative after negative narrative last season (and this).
Cousins only does well when things are “perfect”
Oh, and he’s shown he can produce like Mahomes, just to knock down my own narrative.
He’ll never be a winner/MVP/elite
Will never win a playoff game
Is/should only a game manager
Will never put the team on his shoulders
Is Bad in Prime Time/Against Good Teams
Needs Dalvin? Or even better…
How about beating a > .500 team, without Dalvin Cook gashing the opposing defense/“on his back”, in prime time, from down by A LOT late in the game?
Cousins did that, too, last season against the Broncos courtesy of the only second half in NFL history where a team scored a touchdown on every possession.
That leaves the impetus for this article, Cousins record during Monday Night Football. Yes, Cousins has never won during Monday Night Football, but that is more of a coincidence than metric we can learn anything from.
The NFL does try to make their national games ones that are intriguing enough to get the ratings they want, but as we saw last week with the Jets/Patriots game, that doesn’t always mean that either team is any good.
As you’ll have learned above, Cousins (statistically) plays better in prime time games, so you can’t say that it’s the additional pressure/attention that comes from the big game that is causing Cousins to wilt during MNF.
That’s a long way to say that I think the MNF stat is mostly meaningless and as I said on this week’s Morning Joes, a sign that Cousins has knocked down every other negative trope the ‘Never Cousins-ers’ have used to bemoan his existence.
That’s not to say that Cousins has had a good start to his 2020 campaign. He hasn’t and he’ll be the first to tell you that. But, he also had a rough start to his 2019 campaign, but as you’ll have seen above he also turned things around and was in the MVP convo for a significant portion after that (despite the fact that he was splitting “votes” with Dalvin Cook).
Oh, I forgot to mention the “garbage time” label he has, which makes sense because he’s been on a lot of bad teams (especially during his time in Washington).
You mean all that garbage time during a 10-6 season?
Oh, and, considering the fact that Cousins is the SECOND-MOST accurate quarterback in NFL history (by nearly a full % point over the third place QB, Chad Pennington), and helped Stefon Diggs become the best deep threat receiver in 2019 (a season where Cousins had a 26:6 TD:INT ratio, after a 30:10 ratio in 2018 (the first 4k/30 TD/10 INT season in team history)), despite playing behind the 27th-ranked pass blocking line last year?
Yeah. Forgive me if I think that some of this Cousins hate is overblown.
Now that the Vikings seem to have turned things around, the team will need Cousins to continue his efficiency moving forward but especially when going up against the Chicago Bears’ stout run defense. It just so happens that that game also falls on Monday Night, so let’s hope that we’re also able to put that narrative to rest come Tuesday.
But I’m sure after that we’ll hear that he’s 0-4 when Mars is in retrograde therefore Spielman needs to eat the $41 million in dead cap cutting Cousins would accrue in 2021 personally.
Because they should’ve kept Teddy! Whose 98.7 rating on the season is leaps and bounds better than Cousins’… 97.7? Oh. Well, then Case Keenum! Who has … one of the most profitable Subway sandwich franchises in the Tri-State area?
So, let’s look at things from a nuanced perspective because we’ve seen Cousins do a lot of things we have seen ONCE since Culpepper’s amazing 2004 season (that once being Favre’s 2009 season). Is Cousins perfect? No. Is he better than what we’ve had or could have? Yes. Can they win with him? Yes. Have they put him in the best position to win? No.
But the Vikings line is actually starting to look good and when you add how amazing Dalvin has been playing to the scrappy play of this young defense AND the best receiving/tight end talent on ANY roster… Maybe, just maybe, Cousins could end up putting that one negative narrative that no Vikings QB has in six decades before his contract is up in Minny.
Then again, people will probably bring up Trent Dilfer and go back to hitting f5 on Bridgewater’s Twitter.