Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins enters Year Five with the team this September. Cousins was signed in 2018 after the Vikings made an unforeseen sprint to the 2017 NFC Championship, theorized as the “final piece of the puzzle” to put Minnesota over the top.
And in four seasons, Cousins has guided the Vikings to the postseason just once, knocking off the New Orleans Saints in 2019. Aside from that, Vikings football has been even-steven per win percentage with Cousins in charge.
Cousins gets a change of scenery in 2022, though. Over the last two years, Minnesota’s defense unceremoniously declined compared to Cousins’ first two seasons in Minnesota, and the controversial quarterback was not good enough to surmount the regression. Accordingly, head coach Mike Zimmer was terminated six months ago, and Minnesota welcomed a young coach in Kevin O’Connell, seemingly the anti-Zimmer via personality, philosophy, and age.
This offseason, Cousins also extended his contract by an extra year, gluing him to the franchise through the end of his age-35 season (2023). He’ll turn 34 in August.
At that “advanced age,” Cousins qualifies for fun lists like “Top 30 Players Over 30,” authored by Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports this week. In his estimation, Cousins is the league’s 20th best player over the age of 30.
Benjamin wrote, “No, he doesn’t have the big-game resume to match his price tag, but he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his borderline top-10 production. Kevin O’Connell’s arrival in Minnesota could accentuate his efficiency and his eyes for explosive shots.”
Cousins was outranked by Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr by one spot, a player frequently likened to Cousins.
If the Vikings and Cousins somehow venture to the Super Bowl in Kevin O’Connell’s first year, Cousins would become the seventh quarterback in NFL history to reach the league’s championship at age 34. Tom Brady, Len Dawson, Brad Johnson, Joe Theismann, Earl Morrall, and Bart Starr played in Super Bowls at age 34.
On the CBS Sports list, the very best players over 30 [in order] were the aforementioned Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Donald, Russell Willson, and Trent Williams.
Cousins notably placed higher than Joel Bitonio, DeAndre Hopkins, Darius Slay, and Bobby Wagner.
Since joining the team in 2018, Cousins ranks fifth leaguewide in touchdown passes with 124.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).