Kirk Cousins joined the Minnesota Vikings via free agency in 2018, a plan concocted by then-general-manager Rick Spielman to put the Vikings over the top after an unforeseen run to the NFC Championship in 2017.
Cousins is habitually accountable for about 4,000 passing yards and 30+ touchdowns, and Spielman believed pairing those credentials with the at-the-time Vikings hellfire defense would rubberstamp a Super Bowl triumph. Then, however, former head coach Mike Zimmer insisted on staying committed to a run-first style of offense, so Cousins was a bit ornamental in the offense, even with an expensive price tag. Zimmer seemed to endorse a quarterback who limited mistakes and merely “didn’t mess up” in his offense while running backs and defensive players took care of the rest.
Cousins and Zimmer didn’t win a Super Bowl together — or even really get close — and Zimmer was fired by the Vikings one year ago. Cousins remained and was paired with his former quarterbacks coach, Kevin O’Connell.
Wild Kirk Cousins Stat Highlights Former Team’s Futility
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Commanders have struggled without Cousins and have verifiably failed to nail down a replacement at quarterback. Washington Post sports writer Jake Russell tweeted a rather wild statistic about the Commanders since Cousins departed in 2018:
Since Kirk Cousins left after the 2017 season, Washington has played at least three quarterbacks each season:
– Jake Russell | Washington Post
With Cousins in charge as the full-time starter from 2015 to 2017, Washington employed one starting quarterback — and that was, of course, Cousins.
Since Cousins left, Washington has started these men at quarterback:
- Kyle Allen
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Garrett Gilbert
- Dwayne Haskins
- Taylor Heinicke
- Sam Howell (this week)
- Josh Johnson
- Case Keenum
- Colt McCoy
- Mark Sanchez
- Alex Smith
- Carson Wentz
When the Commanders game against the Dallas Cowboys kicks off this weekend, it’ll be an even dozen for different starting quarterbacks in Washington since the end of the Cousins era. Read ’em and weep.
From 2018 to present, after the Cousins years, Washington also ranks 31st in passing yards, 29th in passing touchdowns, 29th in passer rating, and 26th in interceptions. The Commanders also have just 4 games since 2018 featuring 3 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Vikings have 17 such performances — all from Cousins.
The Commanders swung for the fences last offseason via trade with the Indianapolis Colts for Carson Wentz, but the plan failed. Washington has a 2-5 record with Wentz as QB1. Thankfully for its sake, Washington should have a Top 15 pick in April’s draft and may attempt to draft “their guy,” hoping to replace Cousins’ consistent production once and for all.
Cousins’ Vikings take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.
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 Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).