AP Photo / Matt Slocum
In the biggest moments, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins comes in small. He’s an anchor when the franchise is looking for his Aquaman.
The 34-year-old signal caller epitomizes mediocrity in a world where elite quarterbacks are more important than ever to compete at the highest level. The game is built around superheroes pretending to be professional athletes. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Lamar Jackson bring Superman-like qualities to the position.
His cousins don’t even have an impressive natural arm talent to make up for his lack of sportiness or accuracy in consistently beating defenses using accurate throws based on snap pre and post readings. It lacks the elite single attribute.
However, the Vikings organization is pushing him defiantly particle Guaranteed contracts to keep him as an offensive leader. It’s an inexplicable approach that keeps the entire organization trapped in the Phantom Zone – an inescapable prison built of her own making.
The juxtaposition of team performance during the first two weeks of play perfectly exemplifies where the quarterback and his team sit among the NFL hierarchy.
During Monday’s 24-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, the Cousins threw three interceptions and averaged less than 5.0 yards per attempt. All three turnovers came in the second half and were a backbreaker.
To be fair, the first objection was tolerable. Justin Jefferson didn’t run across Darius Sly’s face, and a back corner undermined the pass at the 1-yard line. Also, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave hit the quarterback as he attempted a throw, which kept something off the pass.
The next two were much more problematic.
Cousins looked toward Adam Tellin to turn the third and seventh position. The veteran caller did not recognize the bottom dropper. Instead, Avonte Maddox retreated and Achieve a massive grab over the head to rotate.
After Jalen Hurts threw an interception, the Vikings had a chance to cut the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Instead, Cousins saw an unblocked defender, fading back and to the left, and throwing a lollipop into the end zone for Slay to snag.
One could argue that the Cousins were squeezing during a contest that Minnesota didn’t lead. The Vikings missed at least two alarms in the first half of two minutes throughout the third and fourth frames.
“I thought Kirk fought tonight,” coach Kevin O’Connell reporters. “Put him in some tough situations. I put this on 100 per cent.”
Maybe his cousins felt he needed to do some plays. In herein lies the problem. He does not have the skill set that enables him to consistently perform off-platform plays or create off-structures.
like an athlete Arif Hassan Previously noted, Cousins’ EPA (Expected Points Per Attempt) on lag with 10 minutes or less remaining and in the third and longest positions over the previous seven years 30 And the 25th, Straight. He is not the man in positions of high influence like many of his contemporaries.
Cousins’ true power lies in organizing crime as it was created. When it’s in a rhythm and relaxed, it can be very effective. Eight days ago, the Vikings looked like an entirely different crime.
Minnesota defeated Green Bay Packers by 16 points. During the competition, Cousins completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 277 yards and two runs. But the assertive did something unexpected and made life easy for their opponents. They didn’t regularly match Jaire Alexander with Jefferson, and the receiver had a field day. Jefferson had nine passes for 184 yards against the Green Bay heavyweight appearance.
Cousins reporters Then:
“I’d be a little surprised, yeah. When he has a game that big, it’s not because of him, but you would expect him to be pushed away a little bit, and he will sometimes. Our coaches try to find ways we still have him involved, and we were able to do that today. So it’s going to be kind of From the conversation we had a lot last season, and we’ll have this season every week on how to defend it.”
Jefferson is advancing toward superstar status. But he needs to excel in the face of the top corners. Slay picked up more interceptions in Jefferson’s live coverage than the angle allowed receptions, in NFL Next Gen Stats.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Sly told ESPN Lisa Salters (h/t). Kimberly Martin), “But I’m one of the best players in the world too.”
Obviously, not everything falls to cousins. Jefferson could play better. Multiple drops occurred throughout the competition, notably a heartbreaking bobble with a tight end Irv Smith Jr. that was supposed to turn into a 63-yard touchdown.
The margin of error for Minnesota is very small. You can’t make those mistakes. The best performing players in the Vikings have to turn up and show every week, because they don’t have the quarterback who is able to raise the bar for the lesser players or overcome adversity when everything around him isn’t perfect.
“We need to play better and we will play better,” Cousins advertiser.
This is what a midfielder has to say when addressing the media. But the team’s problems in its current setup revolve around what the Cousins can actually do.
There is more than enough talent on the roster for the Vikings to compete on a weekly basis. Jefferson will bounce back after mostly closed. The 32-year-old could still be a factor. Dalphin Cook 17 yards will not be held on a regular basis. Defense coordinator Ed Donatel will learn from playing a mostly high safety look on Monday against a tough ground game while still making a huge mental blunder to deliver a 53-yard touchdown bomb.
Vikings remain in transition. New General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell wanted Cousins back to provide some stability. His signature was also rooted in the apparent fear of playing in the middle. The 11-year-old veteran provides an outstanding foundation. The problem lies in the overlap of its ceiling and floor. As such, Minnesota remains in limbo thanks to the running average quarterback.
Cousins is what it is, and that’s not good enough. In the meantime, the franchise will be walking through the water until it finally goes in another direction at the most important location in the game.
Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Tweet embed.