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Minnesota Vikings GM on Kirk Cousins: ‘QB play matters, but there are other ways to win’

Jason Burgos
minnesota vikings, kirk cousins
Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has faith in his starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, but he also understands that the 10-year veteran needs help if he is going to bring the Vikings to the promised land.

At the start of the NFL offseason, there were rumblings of interest from rival teams in the services of the man originally drafted by the then-Washington Redskins. After four years in Minnesota and just one season with double-digit wins, it didn’t seem out of the question the franchise could move on from the expensive 2021 Pro Bowler.

However, while veterans like Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz were moved, Kirk Cousins stayed put and was even rewarded with a one-year extension to keep him in Minnesota into 2023. In a Wednesday conversation with Pro Football Talk, the team’s GM explained his belief in Cousins talent, but that he can’t do it on his own, and there needs to be a greater team effort to help their QB be his best version.

Minnesota Vikings GM knows Kirk Cousins needs more help

minnesota vikings, kirk cousins
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

“Kirk’s a really good quarterback,” Adofo-Mensah said. “Things are binary. Either you’re a champion or you’re not. Either you’re the GOAT or you’re not. I don’t think that’s really how you successfully build teams. When you study historically what wins the NFL, special quarterback play does matter, but there are other ways to win.

“What we try to do is first and foremost get Kirk in the fold. I had a presentation with him. ‘Hey, you’re our partner in this. We’re trying to build this thing to have you be the best version of yourself, Kevin, and I,” he added. “Once we do that, then we can maybe go back and reassess where we are, but we think the best version of him and surrounding him with other things give us a really good chance.”

Adofo-Mensah admitted that the process to get the Minnesota Vikings starting QB where they think he can be will take time. While Cousins and O’Connell have worked together previously in Washington, the reason they extended Cousins was with the understanding his pairing with the new head coach would likely require more than a season to succeed.

  • Kirk Cousins stats (2021): 4,221passing yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs, 103.1 rating

“Obviously extending him gives us more time, right? I think the last time Kevin coached him [in Washington] I think it was all under the same situation where it was a one-year deal and Kevin was like, ‘Look, I want to pour into this guy. I think he’s one of the best quarterback guys I’ve ever been around, so I want to pour into this guy, see what the best he can be and we’ll see what happens in the end.’ We thought that was the best path going forward,” said Adofo-Mensah.

This will be the fifth straight season where Cousins will have to learn a new offensive system.