Blair Anderson is a Vikings super fan who convinced Bring Me The News to give him a blog. So, here goes nothing....
On Thursday night, I grabbed a case of Grain Belt and watched the Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is an odd way to begin a Wide Left blog about the Minnesota Vikings, but as I watched this football game I randomly threw $500 worth of click bait money on, I started thinking about all of the quarterbacks that the Browns have started since 1999.
We all know about the epic jersey that exists in Cleveland that lists all of the starting quarterbacks since the Browns' rebirth. The list hangs from the shoulders all the way to the floor, signaling the team's misery in simply trying to find one consistent quarterback over the past 20 years.
Long story short, I don't want this to happen to the Vikings. Although, to be honest, it already has.
The Vikings have tried everything from mercenaries (Warren Moon), first round draft picks (Daunte Culpepper, Christian Ponder) and stealing their biggest nemesis (Brett Favre) to find a quarterback that lasts. Yet, they haven't had a quarterback start all their games in consecutive seasons since Fran Tarkenton started all 14 games in 1972 and 1973.
The Vikings have an opportunity to make that happen with Kirk Cousins this season. Cousins has yet to miss a game since signing with the Vikings (knock on wood) and if he makes all 16 starts, he'll be the first quarterback in franchise history to do so.
Just that thought made me think about something I never thought I would say back in September: Cousins deserves an extension from the Vikings.
Let's think this through the Grain Belts I've been drinking. At the beginning of the year, the coaching staff was afraid to take the training wheels off of Cousins and it showed with 183.7 yards per game, three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first four games.
After Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs almost threatened to throw Cousins through one of the glass panes killing all the birds at U.S. Bank Stadium, Kevin Stefanski took the chains off of Cousins and as noted Vikings fan Curtis Axel would say, "The chains are off, man. THE CHAINS ARE OFF!!!"
Cousins has been playing like a man possessed and everyone's insults have simply poured gasoline on the fire. Zach Brown called him the weakest link and Cousins whooped Philly's defense so bad, it cost Brown his job. Others questioned his ability to win in prime time and he responded with a pair of wins over Washington (bad) and Dallas (good).
More people said he couldn't play like a franchise quarterback and all he's done is throw 15 touchdowns to one interception (which clanged off of Stefon Diggs' hands during a four-touchdown effort against Philadelphia) in his last six games. Overall, Cousins has thrown for 2,437 yards, 18 TD and 3 INT, which are numbers we came to expect when the Vikings signed him to his massive contract.
Even take into consideration a tweet from our very own Joe Nelson, who brought up that in his first two seasons, Cousins has put up better numbers than Favre did in a Vikings uniform.
Look, Minnesotans don't like when athletes get paid an obscene amount of money. Joe Mauer's career was tainted when he got his massive contract. Kevin Garnett' first big contract forced the NBA into a lockout. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter's contracts have sent the Wild straight into Tankville. For us who like to get our paycheck and use it to slam 15 Grain Belts on a Thursday night, that kind of money demands perfection.
Even if you're not impressed with what Cousins has done, who will the Vikings get to replace him? As much as I would LOVE to see Teddy Bridgewater return, the Vikings probably don't have $20 million lying around to sign him and such a move would cause Kirk to storm into Rick Spielman's office screaming what the hell is this?
The Vikings are likely going to be out of the mix when it comes to nabbing a top quarterback prospect such as Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa, and grabbing Justin Herbert or Jake Fromm doesn't exactly move the needle for me. Especially when you consider neither are going to put up the numbers Cousins is putting up right now.
We'll know more about Cousins in the coming weeks, but it's possible the Vikings can make a deep playoff run (I'm not going to say win the big one) with him. Shoot, remember when Joe Flacco went crazy in a four-game playoff spot and wound up winning a Super Bowl? Who says Cousins isn't capable of doing the same thing?
Time will tell if that's what will happen for the Vikings, but for now, Cousins is looking like he's deserving of every penny midway through his three-year deal.