The Minnesota Vikings don’t have a secured spot behind Kirk Cousins now or for the future. Can they find their security blanket in the 2019 NFL Draft?
The NFL offseason was exciting for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans. No, not this year. Last year.
It was 2018 when general manager Rick Spielman courted quarterback Kirk Cousins to play in Minneapolis. Why wouldn’t he? Play in a brand new U.S. Bank Stadium with a roster poised for a deep playoff run. And, of course, the money.
$84 million guaranteed is what Cousins signed for. After turning down a 90 million dollar offer from the New York Jets. You can say it was about a little more than just the money.
Spielman broke the bank getting Cousins in purple and gold. He could’ve settled for Case Keenum, the quarterback that just took them to the NFC Championship game a couple months prior. But he needed someone that had proved to be more reliable, consistent, and ready to lead the Norsemen to the bright lights.
The deal signed last March was for three years. Quarterbacks that come via free agency often go through some growing pains, learning a new offense and group of wide receivers. Cousins had his bumps but can’t be blamed for the 8-7-1 record the Vikings finished with last season. After all, he was one of the most accurate quarterbacks and had a 30/10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, great by league standards.
All those things don’t matter, however, because Cousins is a Viking for one reason: to lead them to a Super Bowl. It’s a trophy Minnesota has never won in their 58 years as a franchise. They’ve gone four times, but the closest Lombardi trophy to Minneapolis resides roughly 278 miles east in Green Bay, Wi.
2019 is a big year for Cousins, Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer and the rest of the Vikings organization. With two years left on Cousins’ contract, and younger players seeking a more lucrative contract themselves, the Super Bowl window is essentially just that: two years.
What happens if the Vikings don’t take that next step this season? Much of the blame will fall on Cousins and his paycheck. Fingers will also point at Spielman and Zimmer. What if Cousins just isn’t the answer?
Life in the NFL comes at you fast. It’s a business. Owners want to make money and win games. Once a Super Bowl window closes it’s back to the drawing board, often with a new coaching staff and man under center. If things don’t go as planned over the next two seasons, that could be the Vikings.
It’s not a secret: the quarterback class of the 2019 NFL Draft doesn’t project to be one we saw in 1984, 2004, or even 2018. It also doesn’t project well compared to 2020 or even 2021 which is when Trevor Lawrence is expected to declare.
Spielman isn’t looking to spend day one or two looking at a quarterback. But he can’t write it off for day three. Some targets could include Brett Rypien, Ryan Finley and Will Grier. As of today, it’s hard to pinpoint a target Spielman, and the scouting staff may like because of the lack of visits/workouts they’ve had with this year’s class. This could also be by design, not tipping their hat to any of the other teams that may be looking to target a quarterback late in the draft.