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The Weird Thing about Kirk Cousins in These Playoffs


Kirk Cousins
Aug 29, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks on from the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It might feel like yesterday when Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was battling Robert Griffin III for the QB1 job with the Washington Commanders. That was 10 years ago, and Cousins ultimately won the war as the Commanders ended up parting ways with Griffin III, mainly because of injuries.

Fast forward to the 2022 playoffs — and with Griffin III as an ESPN analyst — Cousins is the second-oldest quarterback in the NFL playoffs. That’s right. The only quarterback older than Cousins in the postseason is the granddaddy of them all for age, Tom Brady.

The Weird Thing about Kirk Cousins in These Playoffs

Cousins’ Vikings host the New York Giants on Sunday, and New York is led by a passer nine years Cousins’ junior. Here’s the full list of quarterbacks in the 2022 postseason by age:

  • Tom Brady: 45
  • Kirk Cousins: 34
  • Geno Smith: 32
  • Dak Prescott: 29
  • Patrick Mahomes: 27
  • Josh Allen: 26
  • Joe Burrow: 26
  • Skylar Thompson: 25
  • Daniel Jones: 25
  • Jalen Hurts: 24
  • Justin Herbert: 24
  • Tyler Huntley: 24
  • Trevor Lawrence: 23
  • Brock Purdy: 23
The Weird Thing about Kirk
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) kneels in the huddle during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, Cousins isn’t renowned as an “old” quarterback, so why does the aforementioned stat feel so weird? Well, there are no Rodgers, Brees’, Roethlisbergers, Staffords, or Wilsons in the playoffs. They either retired or had down years. After Brady, Cousins is the second-eldest statesman left in the dance.

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) lines up for a play against the New York Giants during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And in 2022, with a new head coach, Cousins is using his age and experience to his advantage. The Star Tribune‘s Ben Goessling tweeted this weekend that Cousins “changes something about a play call (canning a play, redirecting protection, changing a route, etc.) about 70 percent of the time. Lots of trust in the QB, and lots on his plate.”

Kevin O’Connell evidently trusts Cousins at the line of scrimmage — probably because of the age and experience — to “do the right thing,” and it’s paid off to the tune of a 13-4 record and Cousins tying the NFL record for most game-winning drives in a single season.

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Age will be a popular topic in the Vikings community pertaining to Cousins this offseason, no matter how the Vikings finish the postseason. Cousins faces a crossroads in 2023, as age 35 is generally when quarterbacks begin a performance-related decline or forge ahead at the same production level into their late-30s and early 40s. Cousins has shown no real indicators either way in 2022.

The Vikings will have a late 1st-Round draft pick in April, and most don’t expect general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to spend the draft capital on a quarterback. Cousins is under contract through the end of next season. But Adofo-Mensah could reasonably examine the QB draft pool in Round 3 or 4.

The Vikings are favored with 34-year-old Cousins to defeat the Giants in the Wildcard Round by three points.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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