What if I told you that the Vikings’ acquisition of Kirk Cousins would be compared to the Denver Broncos’ signing of Peyton Manning after the 2011 season? Because it just was.
And no, this is not the start of an ESPN “30 for 30.” But it could be some day, if Cousins leads the Vikings to two Super Bowls and a Lombardi Trophy like Manning did in Denver.
“This is an optimal situation for Cousins, with the Minnesota defense and offensive skill players lined up for him perfectly,” said Mike Wright of “The Fantasy Footballers Podcast.” “I can’t recall a more perfect free-agent quarterback marriage – other than Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos.
“It’s crazy to be a free-agent quarterback and slide into a team and immediately everyone is talking about a Super Bowl.”
In the Twin Cities as part of a five-city tour for the podcast that starts Thursday at Minneapolis’ Cedar Cultural Center, Jason Moore said only one of the three free-agent quarterbacks the Vikings let walk would have been comparable to Cousins.
“I do like Kirk Cousins. I see him as an upgrade from Case Keenum,” said Moore, one of the podcast’s three analysts. “But I’m a Case Keenum truther: I believe he’s actually a really good quarterback. … You saw last year he has the ability to lead you with a good team.”
Sam Bradford showed the ability, but there was one small problem.
“The odds of him playing a full season are low,” said Andy Holloway, another analyst on the show. “Until he does it, that’s going to be the expectation for him.”
If that changes, Bradford – who ranks as about their No. 28 quarterback – could impress again.
“He has [second-round draft pick] Christian Kirk. He has Larry Fitzgerald. He has David Johnson. So, there’s no reason he can’t be a middle-to-upper guy, a top-15 quarterback,” Holloway said.
As for Teddy Bridgewater … well … the reviews were less than flattering.
“He was more of an efficiency quarterback and not a fantasy [football] quarterback,” said Holloway, whose podcast received more than 30 million downloads last year and has twice been awarded “The Best Sports & Recreation Podcast" by PodcastAwards.com.
“He’s the guy that I’m hoping gets a lot of preseason play and is traded to a team that has a quarterback go down and he gets a chance to start this year,” Moore said of Bridgewater, who the show doesn’t rank. “He’s in a situation right now with the Jets, having drafted Sam Darnold, where he’s not their future.”
In the immediate future, though, “The Fantasy Footballers” project big things for the Vikings – with Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook all ranked roughly as top-10 players at their respective positions – and Cousins on the fantasy field.
They rank Cousins roughly as a top-five quarterback, trailing only Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton in standard scoring and Tom Brady slips ahead of him in six-point-per-touchdown leagues.
“Cousins has had his ups and downs in the NFL,” Holloway said, “but I think fantasy owners respect the fact that it’s a rarity when you get a player that can be a 25-touchdown, 4,000-plus-yards type of guy.”
There’s also reason to believe Cousins, if he meshes well with his new teammates and scheme, could improve upon his career highs in touchdown passes (29) and passing yards (4,917) in his age 30 season.
“Kirk Cousins has fantasy relevance in the past on a different team with different weapons, inferior ones,” said Holloway, who ranks Keenum about 20th overall. “And yet Case Keenum had fantasy relevance in Minnesota, and we look at Cousins as a better overall quarterback than Case Keenum.”
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