Editor’s note: This is a quick-reaction post. Jim Souhan's column will appear later on startribune.com and in the Friday newspaper.
Kirk Cousins signed his three-year, full-guaranteed, $84 million contract on Thursday, revealing that during Super Bowl week he rented a car to scout Minnesota as a possible new home.
``It checked all the boxes,’’ Cousins said during his introductory press conference.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Cousins earned a rare contract because of his rare situation, a franchise quarterback hitting free agency while in his prime. ``That’s why this is so unique.’’
Did the Vikings make the right decision?
The bar will be set high. Cousins is taking over a team that went to the NFC title game. But I think they made the right call.
There have been four 4,000-yard passing seasons in Vikings history. Cousins has produced three in the last three seasons.
He arrives in Minnesota with much to prove, but any consternation surrounding his signing should be considered silly.
Is he being overpaid? Yes. That’s the way free agency works. But the Vikings can afford to pay him and keep most if not all of their other quality players, and paying a proven starting quarterback keeps them from investing a top draft pick and years of development on a young quarterback who may not be able to help this team win.
Is he better than Case Keenum? Cousins produced three 4,000-yard passing seasons before turning 30, while proving remarkably durable. Keenum has put together one good NFL season and is 30. Even those who fell hard for Keenum this season should recognize the difference in resumes.
Is Cousins a star? Not yet. In the NFL, you become a star at quarterback by winning big games. Cousins hasn’t done that. Nor has he played with a particularly good team.
I don’t want to overpraise Cousins. He has to prove he can lead a good team, that he can handle the pressure inflicted upon him by his contract and his new team’s ambition, that he can make the right play at the right time.
But if healthy he will give the Vikings three years of big plays and production. Rarely in recent franchise history have they been able to count on that.