Everything that happened in the six months between the start of the NFL "league year" in March and the start of the season suggested the Vikings were a team in transition at quarterback — and that many fans and plenty within the organization were ready for that change.
First there were persistent rumors that the 49ers or possibly the Broncos could trade for Kirk Cousins.
Then the Vikings drafted Kellen Mond in the third round — and there were whispers at least that they had considered moving up in the first round to take Justin fields.
Throw in the Cousins vaccination story, him missing a significant part of camp and head coach Mike Zimmer publicly reacting to unvaccinated players ... and, well, it contributed to a less-than-great narrative for the expensive Vikings QB going into the season.
So naturally, through three games, Cousins is playing MVP-caliber football. Yes, I said that.
He's not in that discussion right now because the Vikings are 1-2. But that record is not his fault. He nearly rescued a flawed Vikings performance in Week 1 and had the Vikings driving for the game-winning score before Dalvin Cook's fumble. He had another strong game and clutch drive against the Cardinals before Greg Joseph's missed field goal. And he played about as well as I can remember him playing in Sunday's win over Seattle.
Win at least two of those — or especially all three — and Cousins is in the early MVP discussion, as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Fans are seemingly reluctant to admit it, having bought into the "Bye, Kirk" narrative. They want to suggest that his stats are empty calories, but he's done it in the clutch this year — at least so far — as evidenced by his No. 2 ranking in ESPN's Total QBR metric through three games of the season.
You can dislike Cousins — for good reason — because he refuses to get vaccinated, a decision that is a public health risk and gives him a greater chance of missing time this year.
You can be frustrated with his uneven performances with the Vikings in three-plus years and the fact that Minnesota's significant financial investment in Cousins has yielded just one playoff appearance while forcing other hard roster decisions.
But if we just zero in on this season, Cousins has been terrific. It's a shame the Vikings wasted two of those three games, and it's certainly possible that some clunkers are on the horizon based on what history tells us.
For now, though, try to enjoy this version of Cousins instead of just grudgingly half-accepting it.