Let’s Face Reality

Vikings’ fans, we have to face facts. Kirk Cousins is getting paid $28 million dollars a year. Barring an injury he is going to be the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback for the rest of the season and next. Dalvin Cook is the team’s best offensive player, but Cousins is by far the most important.

Yes, $28 million dollars is a lot of money to spend on a quarterback who is going to give you the type of performance he did in Chicago on Sunday. Cousins was outplayed (and the Vikings were largely out coached) by Chase Freakin’ Daniel. The $84 Million Dollar Man checked down, didn’t take chances down field and fumbled twice. BUT ole Kirky got his garbage time stats so the final box score reads: 27-of-36, 233 yards, six sacks, no touchdowns or interceptions.

Star wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (2 catches for 6 yards?! DaFaq?!!) certainly look frustrated, rightfully so and we saw just how anemic this Vikings offense can be when Cook and the running game are punched in the teeth. (Reports postgame from Chicago would confirm the Vikings receivers are disgruntled) Minnesota ran for a measly 40 yards on 16 carries as a team. I’ll let other smarter followers of the team break down the tape but I think their conclusion will match mine: the Vikings offense was hot garbage. It was curdled milk accompanied by old trout served up on a platter and left to bake in a hot summer sun.

Cousins has been one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve watch from the couch this season. Is that all on him? No, of course not. The line hasn’t been great, there have been drops, the play calling hasn’t been ideal. But for what he is being paid, the results should be a hell of a lot better.

So where do the Vikings go from here? Where do Vikings fans go from here before there is a mass purge on Vikings Twitter? I, Nick the Berserker Viking, have thoughts.

So I get what head coach Mike Zimmer is trying to do with Kevin Stefanski, Gary Kubiak, Dalvin Cook and the offensive approach. A balanced attack and playing complimentary football is indeed a winning formula in the NFL. But the balance has swung out of whack for various reasons. The two blowouts at US Bank Stadium have allowed the Vikings go to a run heavy attack, because well its the smart thing to do. In Green Bay the Vikings got down early and it was Cook that got them back in the game. And now in Chicago the plan was the same, establish Cook to setup Cousins in the play-action game and feast. Well that hasn’t worked yet, and I can argue Cook’s overall success has hurt the Vikings. The running game is great (and this isn’t some analytical jargon) but to win in this league in 2019 you need to throw the rock. Cousins and his pass catchers have found no rhythm at all this season. The blowouts have been about riding Cook, the losses have been ugly, down early on the road to tough divisional opponents. Had the Vikings come out against Atlanta or Oakland and thrown for three or four touchdowns and 300 plus yards, this offensive attack would look drastically different. Cousins would be less apprehensive when he does get a clean pocket to chuck it downfield.

So let’s flip the script and instead of spending the first half of every game establishing the run to setup those play-action passes that are meant to make this offense so much better, let’s get Cousins going early and then hammer the run with Cook in the later stages of the game. Minnesota is going to New York next week so let’s open the game up in shot gun John DeFilippo style. Get the passing game going, get Thielen and Diggs some catches down field early, force the Giants to not stack the box.

The simple facts are Kirk is who Kirk is. He is probably going to fumble a lot more. He’ll make some baffling decisions and get happy feet in the pocket when the protection upfront is there. But he is and will always be the Vikings most important offensive player. I get that you want to have balance and that Cook has been great, but you’re doing the team a disservice if you’re not doing everything possible to get your most important player going on the right track.

The Vikings quarterback has gotten into zero rhythm this year and there is a chance he never will. That would be a lot of wasted money. But he isn’t going anywhere, and if things don’t get turned around soon, he might outlast the head coach and GM. Kyle Sloter, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Favre, Case Keenum, Trevor Lawerence or whoever the hell else you want isn’t walking through that door, it’s going to be Kirk Cousins at the helm. Let’s deal with it and try to get him going in the right direction.

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