NFC Wildcard Round Proved Vikings Need to Bring Kirk Cousins Back

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
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If you’re waking up Tuesday morning still in the camp that believes the Minnesota Vikings should part ways with 35-year-old QB Kirk Cousins, reading this article is unlikely to convince you of anything different.

There were six NFL Playoff games this weekend. If you watched all three on the NFC side and you’re still a Kirk denier, bias has obviously clouded your football vision to a degree that may not be fixable.

Related: 6 Players Vikings Must Re-Sign This Offseason

NFC Wildcard Weekend says: Re-Sign Kirk Cousins

In an NFL where 50% of your team’s outlook is dictated by the competency of your starting quarterback, why in the world would the Vikings cut Kirk Cousins loose when the four advancing QBs in the NFC this season are Jared Goff (Lions), Jordan Love (Packers), Baker Mayfield (Bucs) and Brock Purdy (Niners), none of which are better than our current QB1.

On Sunday night, the Packers and Lions both advanced to the Divisional Round and Vikings twitter did not handle it very well. ‘How can the Vikings possibly compete with the Lions and Packers?’ ‘Cut everyone!’ ‘Fire those you can’t cut!’ ‘Blow it all up’, they say…

Of course, that’s not how the NFL works. On paper, maybe the Lions have a bitter overall roster than the Vikings? But one offseason can quickly change an organization’s outlook. Plus, are we really sure Detroit is that far ahead of where the Vikings, from a roster building standpoint?

Minnesota Vikings have elite talent on offense

The reality of this situation is that the Vikings still have the best QB, best tackle combo and best young wide receiver duo in the NFC North, probably top-5 in all three categories across the entire NFL. Not to mention, a top-5 defensive coordinator in Brian Flores, who will likely be a head coach again, after next season.

Hell, the Packers aren’t even in this year’s playoff picture, had Kirk Cousins — who was performing at an MVP level when injured — been the Vikings’ QB for 17 games this season. When he was injured in Green Bay week 8, Cousins was on pace for 4,954 yards and 38 touchdowns on the season. Both projected numbers would have led the NFL this season.

Every new year in the NFL is a coin flip. Teams that are bad, suddenly rise up. Teams that were great, fall off cliffs unexpectedly. But one factor that consistently proves to be the biggest difference maker between competitive teams and non-competitive teams… is a good quarterback.

Related: Vikings Intend to Bring Kirk Cousins Back and Address QB Future This Offseason

Had Kirk Cousins stayed healthy, are you going to honestly tell me the Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t have stood a chance in this NFC playoff picture? They had an MVP candidate QB! You’re lying to yourself if you believe any different.

‘But what about the Vikings defense?! It has too many holes to fill!’ To these fans, I wonder if they watched any of the football that happened this weekend. The Eagles defense surrendered 32 points to Baker Mayfield on Monday night.

The rest of the NFC…

That’s the team the rest of the NFC is trying to be? That’s the cremedelacreme of this conference? Because last night they might as well not have taken the field vs a 9-8 Tampa Bay Bucs team that many would argue didn’t even belong in the playoff field.

Oh, you’re worried about Dallas? You mean the same Cowboys team that is expected to fire their head coach and adopt a brand new offense next season? What do you like so much about them? Is it their consistency at QB? Maybe their star wide receiver or high-end offensive tackles? Hmmm… that formula for sustained success sounds familiar…

Related: Could the Vikings be Shopping Justin Jefferson?

So before you go out begging the Wilfs to let Kirk walk this offseason, take a look around the NFC and honestly evaluate if any team is that much better off than the Minnesota Vikings, led by Kirk Cousins. Because, in the short term (next two seasons), I’m not convinced any NFC team has a better quarterback than the Vikings. Neither Jalen Hurts nor Dak Prescott looked like that guy on Monday.

Beyond the San Francisco 49ers, who have yet to take the field this postseason, the Minnesota Vikings look like one of the best teams in the conference for the foreseeable future, as long as they get Justin Jefferson’s record-breaking contract extension done and find a way to bring back pending free agent stars Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter.

Oh, you’re worried about cap space? Don’t be. This whole, ‘the Vikings can’t afford to keep all their stars’ narrative is a myth that we have already proven untrue.

AFC Wildcard games prove same point

And quickly, just to hammer home my point. What happened in the AFC, over the weekend, only adds legitimacy to the ‘bring Kirk back’ argument. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs struggled to find their way all season. Why? They have elite quarterbacks and very average rosters, beyond QB.

But, they slipped, tripped and stumbled their way into the postseason… and both squads won their wildcard matchup easily, proving yet again that the best teams in the NFL have the best quarterbacks.

From there, a GM should do his or her best to build a talented roster around them. At the end of the day, though, nothing is guaranteed during any individual football game. But having an elite passer gives you an automatic leg up, no matter the other circumstances. Which is why elite QBs NEVER hit the open market.

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