Minnesota Vikings Reaffirm Commitment to Quarterback Cousins

The Minnesota Vikings aren't going to let Sunday's Wildcard Round loss to the New York Giants force them into any drastic changes. Speaking at a Wednesday press conference, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said quarterback Kirk Cousins is expected to return to the team in 2023.

The Vikings acquired Cousins in 2018 following a 13-3 regular season and an NFC Championship game appearance in 2017. Despite his respectable individual numbers with the team (100.9 passer rating, 261.7 passing yards per game), the Vikings have been caught on a treadmill of mediocrity since his arrival, winning 58.8% of their games and only one of their three playoff games. Despite excellent play from three-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook and star wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen, the Vikings have ranked between eighth and 19th in points scored in all five of Cousins' seasons.

Cousins exemplifies an increasingly common issue for NFL franchises: he is clearly an above-replacement-level quarterback, but his relatively low ceiling caps his team's championship prospects. As quarterback play becomes more and more important every year, making up for a player of his calibre with the rest of the roster becomes increasingly difficult. That being said, finding an obvious upgrade is no easy task. 

Moving on from Cousins would be difficult but not impossible. Cutting him would mean absorbing onerous dead money, but trades would enable the Vikings to save as much as $30 million on their 2023 salary cap. Cousins would have to approve any trade due to his no-trade clause, but whatever team acquires him could have him at a fairly reasonable rate for one year.

Photo Credit: © Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports