NFL: How much would Kirk Cousins benefit the Vikings?
Rumors have been swirling that the Minnesota Vikings will likely sign quarterback Kirk Cousins in the coming weeks after his decision was reportedly narrowed down between the Vikings and the New York Jets.
There was previous speculation that the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, two teams in desperate need of a quarterback, would pursue Cousins, but the likelihood of either of those teams signing him at this point has dwindled to next to nothing.
Just how much would the Vikings benefit by signing the 29-year-old former Washington Redskins quarterback?
Cousins just completed his sixth NFL season since being drafted out of Michigan State University in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The 2017 season was his third as a starter. All six of his NFL seasons have been spent playing for the Redskins.
This past season, he completed 347 of his 540 passes (64.3% completion percentage) for 4,093 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also threw 13 interceptions, a career-high.
Cousins set a career-high in completion percentage in the 2015 season (69.8%), and he set a career-high in touchdowns thrown in the 2015 season (29) as well. In the 2016 season, he threw for a career-high 4,917 passing yards.
Meanwhile, the Vikings looked like a team set at the quarterback position. With Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford all on the roster, it looked like they had plenty of options to choose from in the 2018 season.
However, by not using the franchise tag on Keenum, the Vikings opened themselves up to the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, especially given the fact that the likelihood of Bridgewater or Bradford coming back is as low as it is at this point.
Keenum, 30, had a career year this past season, which was his fifth career NFL season and his first as a member of the Vikings. He completed 325 of his 481 passes (67.6% completion percentage) for a career-high 3,547 yards and a career-high 22 touchdowns. He only threw seven interceptions.
Keenum ended up leading the Vikings to a 13-3 record and an NFC championship game appearance. His miracle pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs is what sent the Vikings to Philadelphia for the NFC title game to take on the Eagles, a game they would end up losing by a score of 38-7.
Again, would the Vikings really be gaining a whole lot by getting rid of Keenum for Cousins?
As far as passer ratings go, Keenum's was slightly higher than Cousins's this past season at 98.3 to 93.9. However, Keenum has had just one season above a 90 passer rating, while Cousins has done it three seasons in a row. He even posted a career-high passer rating of 101.6 in the 2015 season.
As a result, Cousins is definitely the more proven quarterback. Plus, while Keenum was an NFL MVP candidate this past season, Cousins did a lot more as far as moving the ball through the air goes. As efficient as Keenum was, a lot of the Vikings' success came as a result of their #1-ranked defense.
I definitely think Cousins is better than Keenum, but would the upgrade from Keenum to Cousins be worth the money that the Vikings would have to pay to make it happen? That I'm not so sure about, especially after the season that Keenum just had in his just first season in Minnesota.