The season is over for the Minnesota Vikings after they lost to the 49ers 27-10 on Saturday in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
On Monday, it was time for the players to clean up and head home, and it was time for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer to reflect on the season that was, which meant talking about his quarterback Kirk Cousins.
In 2019, Cousins played very well for the Vikings. After a slow start, Cousins threw for 3603 yards with 26 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. The interception total was a career-low for Cousins as a starter. After missing the playoffs in 2018, Cousins was able to guide his team to the playoffs, including going into New Orleans to defeat the Saints in the Wild-Card game.
According to Zimmer, Cousins played the best football of his career in 2019.
“I think Kirk (Cousins) played a lot better this year than he did the year before,’ Zimmer said. “I think obviously the scheme helped him quite a bit, and so I think yeah, I think this may have been his best year that he’s played in the NFL.”
When asked if the Vikings should lock up Cousins long-term, Zimmer had this to say.
“To answer the question, the best way to answer it is part of the reason why I didn’t want to do player evaluations today or this week was because I want to get away from everything for a little bit of time, evaluate the players,” Zimmer said. “You know, if you win, everything is great, if you lose, everything is the worst in the world, so I think it’s important that we take our time, get away from it for a few days, then we evaluate, and we’ll go from there. Not just on Kirk, on everybody.”
The 31-year-old Cousins will be entering the final year of his three-year, $84 million contract in 2020, so the Vikings will have a decision to make. The question for the Vikings is, can they win a Super Bowl with Cousins as their quarterback, and as Zimmer evaluates Cousins, I think he will probably have more questions than answers.
Cousins was not very good against the 49ers, and while he completed 21 of his 29 passes, he only threw for 172 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Vikings have so many weapons on offense, including Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. Therefore, he really does not have any excuses.
In the end, when you guarantee a player $84 million, you expect results, and those results need to be a Super Bowl victory.