Starting Kirk Cousins This Sunday Could Bite Vikings Come April

Photo: Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins, tested COVID positive late last week. Just FIVE days later, which is the new league minimum, he tested out of ‘health and safety protocols’ and has joined the team at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, MN. This according to head coach Mike Zimmer, who also confirmed in a very newsworthy Wednesday morning press conference, that Cousins will start Sunday vs the Chicago Bears.

There’s a a lot of logical merit to benching Cousins for Sunday, which is why media was asking such questions. Not only would the team get a look at younger players who haven’t gotten much run in 2021, but they’d also increase their chances of losing the game.

That’s important because the middle of the NFL is packed with teams who, like the 7-9 Vikings, are hanging at or just under .500. So with the 2021-22 playoffs out of the question, focus could turn to the 2022 NFL Draft.

Why would Vikings want to lose?

While I understand that most are still trying to get over the disappointment created by the Vikings’ current season, we must remember that April is just four months away. So the hype surrounding next year’s new crop of rookies will elevate very soon. The NFL draft order is dictated by each team’s record from the year prior. Each team slots in 1-32, in order of worst to first. There is no lottery.

Currently, the Vikings sit at 7-9 and would land the #12 overall draft choice if the season ended today. But, there are TEN teams who sit within one game of the purple. They all have records of either 8-8, 7-9 or 6-10. Digging into the impossible tiebreaker and logistical scenarios for Sunday would be a nightmare. But by record alone, it appears that the Minnesota Vikings could slot in anywhere from #7 to #16, when the dust settles.

So while every competitor loves winning, losing might be the Vikings’ smartest option this weekend. It wouldn’t necessarily signal the end of the Kirk Cousins, Mike Zimmer or Rick Spielman eras. No matter who’s in charge, it would be a loss to secure a better future.

But clearly, this regime is focused solely on the present. Because climbing up that future draft board would be much easier to do without Kirk Cousins at QB on Sunday.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan