After spending the first six years of his career with the Washington Football Team (then Redskins), Cousins signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings.
It was the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history.
In 2020, Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million extension with the Vikings.
Cousins is under contract through the 2022 season.
In 2023 Cousins will be 35 years old, so it’s fair to assume Minnesota might be thinking about his successor.
The Vikings did use a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on former Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond.
But before Minnesota completely moves on from Cousins, it’s important they evaluate how good, or bad Cousins has been for the franchise through his first three seasons.
Like clockwork. pic.twitter.com/oHxfZki4rZ
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 26, 2018
In 2018, Cousins’ first season with the team, he appeared in all 16 games, leading the Vikings to an 8-7-1 record.
Cousins completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 4,298 yards and a 30/10 TD/INT ratio.
He ranked second in completion percentage, 10th in passing yards, and ninth in passing touchdowns.
The Vikings missed the playoffs after finishing second in the NFC North behind the Chicago Bears.
They were one game out of a Wild Card berth with their tie against the Green Bay Packers in Week 2 being the difference maker.
Cousins’ stats likely could’ve gotten him a better grade, but it was the peripherals that doomed him.
The Vikings missed the playoffs with Cousins being one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.
Not the start Minnesota fans were hoping for.
In year two with the Vikings, Cousins appeared in and started 15 games, leading Minnesota to a 10-5 record.
He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,603 yards and a 26/6 TD/INT ratio.
Cousins’ completion percentage ranked fifth in the NFL, his touchdown passes eighth, and his yardage 16th.
He threw only six interceptions as Cousins was named to his second career Pro Bowl.
The Vikings would reach the playoffs with an overall record of 10-6, earning the Wild Card berth.
They went on to defeat the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round of the playoffs 26-20 (paging Stefon Diggs), before falling to the San Francisco 49ers 27-10 in the Divisional Round.
During the 2019 season, Cousins was the seventh-highest paid quarterback.
Cousins’ counting stats took a bit of a dip in year two, but the Vikings saw much more success.
While they got eliminated in the second round, a double-digit-win season coupled with a victory over the Saints in the playoffs makes this Cousins’ best year with the Vikings.
Him slipping down the highest-paid quarterback rankings helped him out a bit as well.
In his most recent season with the Vikings, Cousins started all 16 games and led Minnesota to a 7-9 record.
He completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 4,265 yards and a 35/13 TD/INT ratio.
— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2020
Cousins ranked sixth in passing touchdowns, eighth in passing yards, and ninth in completion percentage.
The Vikings missed the playoffs, finishing third in the NFC North.
It’s important to note that Minnesota’s defense was one of the worst in the NFL, finishing 27th overall in yards allowed with 6,292.
In 2020, after signing his extension, Cousins was the fifth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.
While Cousins’ stats looked good on paper, the Vikings had their worst of his three seasons.
Yes it wasn’t all his fault and the defense struggled, but as a top-five-paid quarterback, you’d expect Cousins to find more success.
He may have had his most touchdown passes, but Cousins and the Vikings did not live up to expectations in 2020.
Final Grade: C
Look it might be a cop out giving Cousins a grade right down the middle, but it perfectly describes his tenure with the Vikings.
He has consistently been one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, yet Minnesota has only made the playoffs once.
Cousins’ stats have always looked pretty solid, but without any postseason success, they become almost meaningless.
What the Vikings do with Cousins going forward is still a mystery.
It would be a shock to see him leave before his contract is up.
However, for the Vikings to become real title contenders, either Cousins has to elevate his game or Minnesota needs to start looking for a new quarterback.