The dynamics of the Minnesota Vikings need to change.
No matter who the owner is, who the front office people are, regardless of the coaching staff and players, there is a dark cloud that seems to hang over this organization.
The Vikings have even changed training facilities and they have a new stadium, but that does not seem to matter either.
It is always the same story line every season…
Growing up in Minnesota, I remember sports journalists Patrick Reusse and Sid Hartman writing about it every summer in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper. The team was always loaded with individual Pro Bowl talent and expectations were always been sky high this time of the year. However, time passed, and the seasons played out and crushing disappointment was always the result. Something always inevitably happened, whether it is a dropped pass, a missed field goal, whatever it was, something always happened. It has been going on since 1960.
Yes, the team has managed to make it to four Super Bowls, but they lost all four. That was also a long time ago, back when Bud Grant was the head coach.
I give Vikings’ fans a lot credit, I really do. It can not be easy. However, they remain as steadfast as the images of Grant’s stoic frozen face back at the Old Met Stadium. Vikings fans have suffered through a lifetime of disillusionment, sadness and stress that has resulted from their unmet expectations. Then, every summer, something magically happens, all is forgotten and once again fans begin hoping against hope that this is going to be their year.
If this year is actually going to be different, that starts by getting rid of quarterback (QB) Kirk Cousins. Cut him. Trade him. Do whatever you can to get rid of him. Unless you have him on your fantasy football team, it is clear to see Cousins is the most overrated and overpaid player in the National Football League (53-54-2 as a starter). That is the only stat that counts. He signed the highest paid deal for a QB in history (at that time) and he has a losing record. Throughout his career, Cousins is just not what anyone would want under center when it matters most. I have sat in sports bars and pointed at the screen the Vikings are playing on and told my wife Samantha, “Watch this, here comes an interception!” Sure enough….Cousins also has a horrible record against teams who have a winning record (13-28-1) and do not get me started with his career record on Monday Night Football (1-9).
Back in 2018 after watching Washington consistently suffer through several seasons of Cousins choking in pivotal moments, I heard the Cleveland Browns were strongly considering bringing in Cousins. I wrote a letter to their owner, Jimmy Haslam, begging him NOT to sign Cousins. The Browns ended up passing on Cousins, but not the Vikings. Minnesota fell in love with the big numbers he put up in non-pressure situations and paid him a ton of cash. The Vikings scouting department dropped the ball in their study and background research to gain a better understanding of Cousins “big numbers,” and instead threw caution and $84 million dollars to the wind. The results have been almost scientific. Cousins has not won anything that really matters in Minnesota, just like he did not in Washington. In a move that made even less sense than the Vikings signing Cousins in 2018, the team has since responded with throwing him another $66 million dollar extension that goes through the 2022 season. I guess that is the going rate for a QB who has won a grand total of one playoff game in his career. I am being factious.
Would a change at QB be enough to change the team’s fortunes?
Probably not, but I guarantee going with Cousins this season will not result in a Super Bowl or the Vikings getting anywhere near it. The Packers are coming off two-straight NFC Championship games, the Bears with rookie QB Justin Fields could be the surprise team in the NFC this season and the Lions promise to be improved under head coach Dan Campbell. The Vikings are going to have to do more than just the same old thing in order to actually expect a different result. Minnesota would be much better off going another direction at QB.
Maybe the answer is also getting rid of all the high-end talent in Minnesota and replacing it with lower round draft picks and mid-tier free agents who will gel better together as a team? That is what I would do if I became the GM in Minnesota. After all, it is a team game and there is a lot to be said for chemistry. I grew up as a fanatic of the Washington Redskins. Back then, their GM was Bobby Beathard (Hall of Famer) who built a three-time Super Bowl champion powerhouse with only three first round picks, a bunch of mid-to low round draft picks, undrafted free agents and castoffs from other teams and leagues. That is who I studied and learned from.
Would that work better?
I believe it would work a lot better. I believe it would win a Super Bowl. One thing is for sure, having a bunch of individual talent that never gels, certainly has never been the answer for the Minnesota Vikings.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.