Following their miracle run to the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago, the Minnesota Vikings made a conscious decision to make an upgrade at the quarterback position.
That decision was to let Case Keenum walk and give free agent Kirk Cousins a three-year contract, making him the highest-paid quarterback in football. It just didn't pan out in 2018, however, as ther former Washington QB struggled holding onto the ball and the team missed out on a playoff berth entirely.
Now, general manager Rick Spielman is stressing that the Vikings are doing everything in their power to take Cousins to the "next level," which makes the signing feel that much more puzzling.
“A lot of the things we’re doing now [are meant]... to get Kirk Cousins to go to that next level to do the things he does best," Spielman said, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Cousins was the proverbial prized pony at the quarterback position last offseason on the open market. The Vikings had to duke it out with the likes of the New York Jets and Denver Broncos in order to obtain his services, as they thought Cousins was an upgrade over Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater.
Instead, Cousins struggled when the lights shined brightest, as he lost important, primetime games in which playoff implications hanged in the balance. Let's not forget that Cousins played in two postseason games in his career (both with the Redskins) and lost both. In those two occasions, he completed 57.1% of his passes for just 360 yards and a touchdown while accumulating 4 fumbles.
Continuing on his turnover issues, Cousins accounted for 17 turnovers alone last season (10 interceptions, 7 fumbles).
It's not to say that Cousins can't turn things around. But it's concerning that the Vikings gave him $84 million fully guaranteed to take them to the Super Bowl, and after one year in, they still need to figure out how to take him to the "next level."