3. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Yes, the Vikings did upgrade at the quarterback position, but Kirk Cousins still has a huge hill to climb in front of him. Last year, the Vikings quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum, combined for a 13-3 record, 3,929 yards on a 67.7 percent completion rate, and 25 touchdowns, while throwing only eight interceptions.
Cousins has shown he can put up comparable numbers, but he’s yet to lead a team to double-digit wins. Part of that may be due to the talent around him in Washington, or maybe Cousins is good at putting up empty stats. We should have a better idea of what kind of quarterback Cousins is after this year, but until then it’s just a guess.
The Vikings had an incredible season last year. Improving on it is not going to be easy. Much like the 15-1 Carolina Panthers from a few years ago, it’s difficult to replicate success in the NFL, let alone improve on it.
The Vikings do have a lot going for them though. They’ll get Dalvin Cook back, who was on his way to an awesome rookie year before he tore his ACL. The defense will remain almost completely intact and will probably be one of the best in the NFL yet again. The Vikings are pretty much running it back from last year, but they’re changing out one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Cousins will unfortunately, be judged solely on his team’s success given his situation. It almost doesn’t matter what he does on the field.
If Cousins performs well and the Vikings hang around 11-13 wins and another division championship, then the move will have been well worth it. But, it’s not going to be easy. Cousins is facing a lot of pressure in Minnesota, and the Vikings have 84 million reasons to be concerned about the bold decision too.