Vikings’ Cousins playing winning football on a losing team


Cousins at the top of his game in Minnesota


Kirk Cousins

Lost in the Minnesota Vikings’ sluggish start to the 2021 season has been the stellar play of their quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Indeed, the 10th year veteran has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the purple and white, losers of three of their four first games, and it may serve to punch the 33-year-old team captain’s ticket out of town and to a team in need of a steady hand under center.

As of early October, Cousins’ stats have placed him among the top signal callers in the league, connecting on 108 of 157 passes (a 68.8 completion percentage) for 1,121 yards and nine touchdowns against only one interception, giving him a quarterback rating of 105.6.

But what’s not reflected in the numbers is the fact that Cousins had the Vikings in position to win two of those contests. However, late-game mistakes in Weeks 1 and 2 against Cincinnati and Arizona undermined what had been otherwise solid team performances. So the Vikings could just as easily have started the season 3-1 instead of 1-3.

Cousins was supposed to be the final piece to a Super Bowl team when the Vikings signed him in 2018 but that hasn’t happened. With his contract due to expire at the end of 2022, Cousins may find himself traded to a contender after the 2021 season, especially if the team continues to lose — and if it can fetch a nice price for a quarterback still at the top of his game.

Cousins and the Vikings can be seen in action Sunday, Oct. 31, when they host the Dallas Cowboys in a Sunday Night Football telecast on NBC.

Player Profile

Full name: Kirk Daniel Cousins

Birth date: Aug. 19, 1988

Birthplace: Barrington, Ill.

Height/weight: 6 feet, 3 inches/205 pounds

Teams: Washington (2012-17); Minnesota Vikings (2018-present)

Position: Quarterback

No.: 8

College: Michigan St.

Draft: Selected in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft by Washington

Honors & Achievements: Pro Football Writers Association Most Improved Player Award (2015); NFL completion percentage leader (2015); Pro Bowl (2016, 2019); Second Team All Big Ten (2011)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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