NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 05: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings crawls with teammates for the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 5, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Note: This article originally appeared on our flagship site, VikingsTerritory.com.
Calm through two games and then loudly against the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Kirk Cousins has gone on to become the Minnesota Vikings’ top footballer for three weeks.
In general, he is not as good as Danielle Hunter or Eric Kendricks, for example. But his recent fingerprints at football matches have kept the team one-sided amid some defensive struggles. In three games, Cousins dipped eight touchdowns, no interceptions, and lost no fumbles. Sadly, the Vikings only have one measly win to show for, as a shady return fumble and an outrageous missed field goal disqualified the win aspirations in Weeks 1 and 2.
The mind-boggling aspect of Cousins’ great output in 2021 is the recognition. People are starting to realize that Cousins is actually a talented passer-by. Before the start of 2021, an entrenched camp of anti-cousins observers insisted his earnings were discounted by sham stats — such as “Cousins only excel in waste time,” or “He only throws short strides,” or “All he does is do it.” manage game.” A counterpoint from Yes but usually followed Cousins. Until now.
Even if it’s just for a month or so, the story changes.
Accordingly, cousins’ chances of winning the NFL MVP award also change. To be clear, the prize will probably still be taken up by a household name like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson or the rejuvenated Matthew Stafford. Still, Cousins is starting to gain a foothold in MVP conversations — a very first time in his 10-season career.
The proof is the pudding.
Cousins MVP odds have moved from +5000 in preseason to +3500 after week 3 in sportsbooks. According to SportsBettingDime.com, this is the field:
The Vikings signal caller lives in an area between Jalen Hurts – it stank of Monday night football — and a Derek Carr-Lamar Jackson sampler platter. A month ago, Cousins was in the +5000 range, just before the running backs popped up on the MVP probability radar.
And here’s the deal: Cousins’ stock would be between +1800 or +2500 if his team were doing business against the Bengals and Cardinals. MVP hardware will be awarded to winners. In September, the Vikings were not winners. They were rogue merchants, and Cousins’ MVP hopes suffered from those crazy events. He’s unlikely to care that he misses September’s MVP chat. In fact, a 2-1 or 3-0 record would push the Michigan state alumnus to the front of the pack.
Cousins profitability in 2021 is twofold. First off, he’s just damn good. Cousins occasionally sprinkle in messy appearances – see 2020 games against the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons – but they are outliers. His bad games are terrible – and that’s the one quality that sets him apart from his illustrious quarterback peers.
In addition, the Vikings’ offensive line protects cousins. It is remarkable, strange and long-awaited. Here’s perspective:
Minnesota will host Cleveland this weekend, in an effort to boost one-game momentum from beating the Seahawks. Those Browns employ Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, so the Vikings’ new line of attack needs to put its lunchbox to work.
A win over the Browns would increase the fervor of Cousins-for-MVP discussions. Sometimes it’s unbelievable that those chats happen at all based on the false stereotypes associated with cousins’ reputations.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007 host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawho and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos’ and The Doors (the band).