Minnesota's kissing Cousins, but is he the answer to Vikings QB needs?
Any minute now, the Vikings are expected to sign free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins to a three-year contract.
When it happens, Cousins will go from being very wealthy to being extraordinarily wealthy. He is an above-average quarterback who has played his entire professional career in Washington.
He can throw the deep ball. He can throw into tight windows. And he can shuffle his feet quickly enough to escape danger in a collapsing pocket.
Is he the answer? Maybe, although it's not clear what the question is.
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The Vikings won 13 games last season with Case Keenum, a journeyman backup quarterback. Keenum played very well, but he also struggled in a playoff game prior to finding Stefon Diggs on a last second miracle pass to beat New Orleans. And, he stumbled in the NFC Championship game won by the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, perhaps Cousins is the answer to the question: Can the long-snake bitten but talented Vikings finally win a big game?
Don't feel sorry for Keenun, by the way. He's going to make a lot of money playing for the Denver Broncos, a team much like the Vikings with a strong defense.
Also, he will always be loved by Minnesota fans for stepping in unexpectedly and leading the team to two wins over the rival Packers, a North division championship and that pass to Diggs which was arguably the most electrifying play in NFL playoff history.
What about the other guys? This was once Teddy Bridgewater's Vikings team before he suffered a devastating knee injury two seasons ago. Bridgewater wasn't well enough to play at the beginning of the 2017 season and for most of it, he didn't even put on his purple uniform.
Bridgewater believes he is healthy enough to play now, and the New York Jets are willing to take a chance on that.
The Vikings No. 1 quarterback at the start of last season was Sam Bradford. He played brilliantly in a week one win but his bad knee prevented him from taking any snaps after week two. Bradford's next stop is in Arizona with the Cardinals.
Amazingly, three other teams are willing to pay big money for Vikings castoffs. Two of them, Bradford and Bridgewater, are just a knee-tweak from finished.
The new guy, Cousins, will also have a new guy running the Vikings offense. John DeFilippo is now the team's offensive coordinator, replacing Pat Shurmur who was lured away to lead the New York Giants as head coach.
DeFilippo has intimate knowledge of Cousins and his ability. DeFilippo's former team, the Eagles, played Washington twice each season. Cousins is a fiery sort and likes to assert himself as a leader. His relationship with DeFilippo could be a key to the success of both men in Minnesota.
During his six-year career in Washington, Cousins masterfully gamed the NFL's salary hold-and-advance structure. He has stayed healthy. And while not yet considered among the game's elite quarterbacks, he is about to ink a three-year deal that puts the Vikings on the hook for more than $80 million.
Still, if he plays on the field as skillfully as he and his agent have played off the field in meetings with general managers, the Vikings won't regret his signing.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News who admits to watching too much football. But, yeah, he was right about the Eagles winning.