It appears that Kirk Cousins will be a part of the Vikings‘ plans or the 2022 season. Speaking at his introductory press conference, new Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said that he anticipates the veteran quarterback “being a part of what we do.”
O’Connell spoke about his first experience working with Cousins during their one season together in Washington. He said that he believes that Cousins has the traits to be successful and has a desire to build a successful team around him.
“I know he’s under contract and I’m excited to coach him,” O’Connell said of Cousins, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
O’Connell, who is fresh off of winning the Super Bowl as the Rams‘ offensive coordinator, was Cousins’ quarterbacks coach in Washington during the 2017 season. That season (his final in Washington before signing with Minnesota), Cousins threw for 4,093 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 touchdowns as Washington finished the year with a 7-9 record.
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Cousins is in the final year of a two-year, $66 million extension. Given his salary (which carries a $45 million cap hit), there had been speculation that the Vikings may go in a different direction this season. And while that could still happen, it appears that O’Connell is currently planning on having Cousins as his quarterback for the 2022 season.
Productivity has never been an issue for Cousins, who was named to his third Pro Bowl in 2021 after throwing 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Winning on a consistent basis, however, has largely eluded Cousins, as he has a 59-59-2 regular-season record as a starting quarterback. That obviously isn’t all on him, as Cousins played on several subpar teams in both Washington and in Minnesota. Last year, for example, Minnesota allowed the ninth-most points in the NFL, which was a big reasons why the Vikings finished with an 8-9 record.
O’Connell also stated that he will serve as Minnesota’s play-caller this season. He said that the Vikings will build an offensive system similar to the one that just helped the Rams win Super Bowl LVI. Vikings fans are surely hoping that O’Connell’s system will complement Cousins as well as it did for Matthew Stafford, who won a Super Bowl during his lone season with O’Connell. The Vikings’ offense has significant pieces to work with that include running back Dalvin Cook and receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.