Ever since Aaron Rodgers became a full-time starter for the Green Bay Packers, every Minnesota Vikings quarterback has been evaluated against him. How can the Vikings win the division with this guy? Tarvaris Jackson wasn’t gonna cut it, nor was Christian Ponder. Brett Favre had one turncoat season for all-time and petered out the next year. Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater got hurt. Case Keenum had a career year at the right time, and Kirk Cousins was measured against Rodgers as soon as he signed that $84 million contract to replace Keenum.
Perhaps the Teddy and Keenum stans hold onto their belief that the Vikings should have stuck with their guy because they both won division titles. They had briefly stood atop Rodgers’ division. In Bridgewater’s case, he had temporarily slain the king.
Regardless, the Vikings committed to Cousins. Rick Spielman and Co. decided to mount up and go to war against Rodgers with a man that irked a sizeable portion of the fanbase. And to this point, he has mostly underwhelmed. Sure he’s had moments but nothing remotely close to what was hoped for.
Well, now there’s a chance that No. 12 doesn’t show up to training camp, and Kirk freakin’ Cousins is the best quarterback in this division. Don’t give me that Jared Goff nonsense. We don’t know when Justin Fields will unseat Andy Dalton (lol). And we know even less about Jordan Love from that powerhouse *checks notes* Utah State program. Honestly, they could go with Blake Bortles and make this the most hilariously quarterbacked division in football. Do it, Green Bay. Do it!
So how could any of this possibly be a bad thing for the Vikings?
The worst thing you can be in the NFL is good enough to compete but not good enough to win the whole thing. If Rodgers is traded, the Vikings will be the division favorite for the foreseeable future, and Kirk will likely put together good seasons for himself and the team. But we will be left wondering if he can deliver against the best teams in the big moment no matter how good the regular season goes.
This is the debate that the fan base and likely the organization has had since he was signed. It’s only grown louder with each passing year. After drafting Kellen Mond? It’s become a head-splitting scream.
This season was supposed to be the defining moment in the Kirk Cousins experience. If he can’t get it done with all this talent around him, what the hell is the point? Dial up Jeff Bezos and blast this man out of orbit. The critics were either going to be proven wrong or shut up. But if Rodgers is gone, he’s going to get it done. They will be a winning football team.
If you don’t believe in Cousins, this is a worst-case scenario. He makes the Vikes competitive enough that the people in charge believe that this team is a contender, and he is the guy. In this scenario, he could receive yet another extension. If you truly believe Cousins will never lead the Vikings to a championship no matter the circumstances, this situation is a disaster. Sure it would be great to beat up on scrub teams, but it will only delay your misery. If you believe in Captain Kirk and think he will lead the Vikings to a Super Bowl, well, this article was probably not for you.
The truth is that this is why both slides should be rooting for Rodgers to return. It will give us a resolution. Either Kirk will rise up and be the guy nobody thought he could. Or he won’t and we can finally figure out a way to move on soon. But if Rodgers doesn’t come back, we could find ourselves in a wide-open, easy division and a difficult-to-navigate, extremely polarizing Kirk Cousins conundrum.