Sometimes, it’s difficult to place an accurate value on an NFL player. I mean, when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings, we all know who the best players on the team are, and we certainly appreciate their talent, but are there players on this roster that we don’t appreciate enough?
Well, Cynthia Frelund of the NFL Network has compiled a list of the most underappreciated players in the league, citing one player from each NFC team. You can read the metrics that she used to compile her list at the beginning of the linked story there, but I’m sure what you’re most interested in concerns who she selected for the Vikings.
In a choice that I’m sure won’t elicit any strong feelings, her selection was none other than QB1, Kirk Cousins.
Yes, I’m breaking one of the rules from the introduction, as Cousins, a former fourth-round pick, has four Pro Bowl nods. But given the constant narrative that surrounds this quarterback — and the fact that the Vikings are allowing him to play out the last year of his contract in 2023 — he just fits this “underappreciated” mold so well. According to Next Gen Stats, Cousins had the most attempts (210), completions (111) and the second-most yards (2,367, a total only eclipsed by league MVP Patrick Mahomes) on passes of 10-plus air yards last season. Those are downfield throws, not ones that rely on YAC. He also ranked third in yards (3,197) and tied for third in touchdowns (22) on passes with a time to throw of at least 2.5 seconds. Another third-place ranking: Cousins’ 3.6 completion percentage over expected versus four or fewer pass rushers. Not to mention, he tied the single-season records for game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks (eight apiece). These are all impressive figures for a quarterback with many skeptics. Does it help to have a receiver of Justin Jefferson’s caliber? Absolutely. Can you expect Cousins to match those robust figures in game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks? No. Those were legitimately historic marks. But give credit where credit is due. The No. 102 pick from the 2012 NFL Draft has put together quite a career.
I know that there’s been a Kirk Cousins vs Daunte Culpepper debate among Vikings’ fans in recent weeks, and I’ve made it clear that I think Culpepper was/is the better player of the two, but that doesn’t mean that I believe Kirk Cousins isn’t good. Quite to the contrary, to be honest. Kirk Cousins is a very good NFL quarterback, he has been for a very long time, and ever since a bumpy first season in Minnesota he’s played very well for this franchise.
So, do you agree that Kirk Cousins is the most underappreciated Viking? If not, who do you think should take that mantle?