If Kirk Cousins was looking for some stability after leaving Washington and signing with the Vikings in 2018, he got it in the form of money and job security.
That's about it.
If he thought that perhaps he might grow into the same sort of long term QB-coordinator relationship enjoyed over the years by top Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, that has not happened. Not even close.
With the news that Gary Kubiak is at least considering retiring and reportedly is leaning in that direction, this much is true: the Vikings would be in search of their sixth offensive coordinator in the last six years if he leaves. The half-dozen that they have started seasons with Minnesota in recent years:
2016: Norv Turner (replaced midyear by Pat Shurmur).
2018: John DeFilippo (replaced midyear by Kevin Stefanski)
And Cousins, who has been here for three of them (and presumably the fourth in 2021 whenever that person is hired), has already had five in his last five years after having two different ones (Sean McVay in 2016 and Matt Cavanaugh in 2017) his final two seasons in Washington.
There was some continuity from Stefanski to Kubiak since they ran similar offenses and worked together in 2019, and there could be similar continuity if Kubiak's son Klint gets the coordinator job if his dad retires. But it would still be six different personalities, six different voices, six different people with final authority on calling plays.
Offensive coordinator stability is not a prerequisite for success, but it sure seems like it helps. Of the last 10 teams to win the Super Bowl, eight of them had offensive coordinators who had been on the job at least two seasons and six had been there at least three seasons.
Among the offenses and QBs who benefited from such stability when they won Super Bowls: Aaron Rodgers (2010 season under fourth-year coordinator Joe Philbin and fifth-year under offensive-minded head coach Mike McCarthy), Russell Wilson (2013 season with third-year coordinator Darrell Bevell) and Tom Brady (2014, 2016 and 2018 with Josh McDaniels, who has been the Patriots OC for 13 seasons in two stints, including 2012-present).
Of the two outliers in the last 10 years, ironically one was 2015 when Kubiak as head coach and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison (now coaching the Vikings offensive line) won the Super Bowl with Denver in the first season for both coaches. That Denver team, it should be pointed out, ranked No. 1 in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric on defense and just 25th on offense. The other was Baltimore in 2012, which switched coordinators midyear and went on an improbable run led by its defense and Joe Flacco.
When Brian Billick helped the Vikings harness their firepower to have (at the time) the highest-scoring offense in NFL history in 1998, he was in his fifth season as OC. Bevell was in his fourth season coordinating head coach Brad Childress' kick-ass Vikings offense when he helped the 2009 team hum like a well-oiled machine.
The Vikings under Mike Zimmer? They seem to be starting over – again – in at least some ways.
"Turnover is kind of the normal part of this league," Cousins said in August, as he prepared to play for his fifth coordinator in five years. "It's rare to have continuity, but you appreciate it when you get it."
Maybe someday he'll get it.
Here are four other things I'm thinking about:
*It's hard not to notice a certain giddiness coming out of New York from Knicks fans and media members, who after years of watching a dismal team have been given a ray of hope through seven games by none other than former Wolves boss and head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Knicks have a 4-3 record after a nice win over the Hawks on Monday, causing the New York Post's Mike Vaccaro to gush that Thibodeau's Knicks "play together, play hard, play defense, look to make both the big plays and the little plays. You win games that way."
They also have the NBA's ninth-best defensive rating in the small sample size of seven games. That Atlanta game will also look familiar to Wolves and Bulls fans for another reason: Julius Randle played 43 minutes and R.J. Barrett played 44 in a tight eight-man rotation. All of these developments bear watching as the season progresses.
*Phil Hughes, who won 88 games in the majors and 16 for the Twins in a very good 2014 season, officially announced his retirement on social media this week.
Unofficially, Hughes remains the only former MLB All-Star pitcher who has ever had a seat at the table to watch me eat 15 tacos. He's definitely one of the good ones.
*The Gophers men's hockey team got "Mike Legg"-ed on Monday when Arizona State's Johnny Walker scored a lacrosse-style goal reminiscent of the famous one scored by Michigan's Legg against the Gophers nearly a quarter-century ago (yes, that sentence makes me feel VERY old).
*When the Wild was placed in the NHL's West for this abbreviated 56-game season — meaning 28 of their games would send them on the road, most of them in the Pacific or Mountain time zones — a big concern for fans (at least those who can still watch them on FSN) was the likelihood of a lot of late TV starts.
But game times were finally released Monday and seemed to bring some good news: Only nine of the 28 road games starts at 9 p.m. or later and only two — a set of games in late March at San Jose — are 9:30 p.m. starts.
You might be able to watch most Wild games and still get to sleep at a reasonable hour.