Should the Vikings be worried about Kirk Cousins?

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are paying Kirk Cousins an absolute fortune to be their quarterback, but they vastly overpaid for his performance against the Packers. 

Signing Kirk Cousins was supposed to be the final piece for a Vikings team on the cusp of Super Bowl glory. Instead, Mike Zimmer’s team has gone backwards with the highly paid quarterback at the helm. His wretched performance on Sunday in Minnesota’s 21-16 loss to the Packers raises serious questions about whether or not Cousins should even be the team’s starter moving forward.

Cousins limped to an ugly stat line of 14 for 32 for 230 yards against Green Bay’s revamped defense. Compounding his inaccuracy were the two interceptions he added to his total compared to a single touchdown. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his poor play was the primary reason why the Vikings failed to go 2-0 on the afternoon.

It’s hard to point to anything Cousins did right against the Packers defense. The protection ahead of him wasn’t perfect, but he was only sacked once in the game. In other words, he can’t blame his struggles on the Green Bay Pass rush. Cousins was just off all day long.

He also can’t point to a lack of offensive balance as an issue. Dalvin Cook ran the ball 20 times for 154 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are somewhat inflated by one carry he took to the house for 75 yards, but it’s not as if Minnesota’s coaching staff didn’t stick with the run. The stage was set for Cousins to have a productive game.

In the end, the veteran signal caller only has himself to blame. He didn’t put the football where he needed to go when it mattered for his team. Cousins has a well-earned reputation for struggling in big games and his play on Sunday won’t do anything to dispel the idea that he’s not a guy who can be trusted to win important games. The Vikings coaching staff should be very concerned about the way their highly paid quarterback played on Sunday.

That doesn’t mean they can really do anything other than try to improve him in practice and prop him up with a quarterback friendly game plan. Cousins can play some terrible games, but it’s not as if Minnesota is going to pull the plug on his tenure and go with Sean Mannion under center anytime soon. The $30 million of guaranteed money the team owes Cousins next year means he’s firmly entrenched as the team’s starter through the 2020 campaign.

Next: 5 bold predictions for the Vikings in 2019

The Vikings need Pro Bowl caliber play from Cousins if they want to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. On Sunday he looked more like a player who should be holding a clipboard. His play is a serious issue for Minnesota now and in the future.

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