Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
How Kirk Cousins plays will determine if the Minnesota Vikings are playoff-viable or not.
It may be a new regime in town, but the pressure remains sky-high for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
After failing to qualify for the postseason, Minnesota enters 2022 at a crossroads. The Vikings have the talent to not only be a top-seven team in the NFC, but have a decent shot to win the division if the Green Bay Packers struggle. Should Minnesota have another trying year, it might necessitate the Vikings moving off Cousins entirely and undergoing a lengthy rebuilding process.
If the Vikings want to make the playoffs this year, Cousins has to win these games with his arm.
Minnesota Vikings: 3 games Kirk Cousins has to win with this arm
3. Week 4: vs. New Orleans Saints (London, Sunday, Oct. 2)
Even if the Vikings’ Week 4 game will be in London, they still need to find a way to beat the New Orleans Saints. If Minnesota were to initially stumble out of the gate with something like a 1-2 record, a neutral-site victory over a team the Vikings will be competing for a playoff spot with would be a great way to salvage a so-so start to the year. This is all about Cousins adapting here.
When tasked with starting games in the early-afternoon window on a Sunday, Cousins is excellent. He has made millions upon millions of dollars being one of the best quarterbacks in that time slot. However, when asked to play later in the day, or god forbid in primetime, Cousins has a bad tendency to come up short. This is why a win over the Saints in London is such a huge deal.
It may only be a slightly later start local time in London, but this is a high-profile internationally televised game of great intrigue. If the Vikings win this game, there is a fantastic shot they will hit their Week 7 bye with a winning record. Again, having the head-to-head tiebreaker over a team the Vikings could be competing with for one of three NFC Wild Card spots cannot be overstated.
One could argue Cousins’ biggest win ever came over the Saints, so he knows he can do this thing.