Rick Spielman: Kirk Cousins is “our guy”

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Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman didn’t call quarterback Kirk Cousins before using a third-round pick on quarterback Kellen Mond, making him a great answer to a Vikings trivia question. Spielman did call Cousins the next day.

“I spoke to him Saturday morning and talked to his agent and just let him know that we want to make sure we have competition behind him, that there’s no doubt that Kirk’s our quarterback going forward, and that we want to create competition to see who’s going to be the backup,” Spielman recently told PFT PM. “Kirk was great. He understands. He knows he’s our guy, his agent knows he’s our guy. Right now, we’re just focusing on getting ready for this season coming up.”

For the season coming up, Mond’s role will be to compete to win the backup job.

“We wanted to create competition with all our young quarterbacks, with Nate Stanley, with Jake Browning, and now with Kellen Mond,” Spielman said. “To have those guys come in and compete and just see where it takes us.”

Barring injury (and Cousins rarely if ever has one), “where it takes us” won’t take Mond to the field in 2021, and probably not in 2022. Come 2023, Cousins could be gone, since his contract expires in March of that year and the Vikings won’t be able, as a practical matter, to keep him off the market. Spielman was asked whether the decision to take a quarterback was influenced by the reality that Cousins has significant leverage over the Vikings when it comes to trying to keep him around in 2023.

“You’re always kind of looking at your roster and where it may be two or three years down the road, but that’s hard to predict as much as you roster plan,” Spielman said. “Every rookie that we draft, we’re hoping that regardless of position that they’re going to be here, whatever role they end up carving out, they end up helping the Minnesota Vikings whether it be in the backup role, starter role, special teams role. We’re just trying to put the best 53 players together and trying to bring in young competition every year to compete with the guys that are currently on our roster. You’re always looking down the road, but you don’t know that until you get everything in the building and start working with these guys and let’s just see where we’re at down the road.”

Given the rumors and reports that the Vikings may have taken quarterback Justin Fields if he’d slipped through to No. 14, the ability to land Mond two rounds later arguably puts the Vikings in a better position, allowing Mond to develop quietly without the endless questions that would have arisen if the Vikings had Cousins as the starter and Fields as the presumptive successor, given that he would have been acquired in the top half of the first round.

“We spent a lot of time on the quarterbacks this year,” Spielman said. “The one thing that Kellen, it really stuck out to us on his progression from his rookie year to what he did his second year then this year I know seeing him performing that Florida game off the tape and how he won a close game. Then he goes down and wins a bowl game against North Carolina, who had a lot of great players on that roster who got drafted this past weekend. Then you go down to the Senior Bowl and it’s the first chance we get to see him live and see how he kept ascending through this process. How well he played at the Senior Bowl, we sent our coaches down to his Pro Day. Andrew Janocko, our quarterback coach, really liked his workout.

“In fact, I spent Thursday night and Friday watching our Zoom call again with our coaches and going through getting to know the kid because a lot of times this year for me personally, I didn’t get to talk to a lot of these kids because the month of March, I was traveling so much trying to get to as many Pro Days. But our coaches and our scouts and working together I think we did over 200 Zoom calls this year and we recorded them all so I can go back when I got off the road or this time when I had time in the evening to sit there and listen to these Zoom calls to get to know these kids, because I’ve never had an interaction with them except when I was down at the Senior Bowl. His interview was very impressive and our coaches think there are things that he needs to get corrected but they’re all correctable with coaching. He has some really natural athletic skills. He can throw on the run. He’s a great scheme fit here for what we’re trying to do.”

Throwing on the run is the key. The Vikings had that in 2017 with Case Keenum, who was able to buy time laterally while receivers sprung open — and it nearly popped the men in purple to the Super Bowl. They don’t have that with Cousins, who lacks the mobility to improvise when the play that’s called falls apart.

The Vikings, as we’d heard it back in 2018, preferred Cousins to Keenum because they wanted Keenum to resist the temptation to leave the pocket, under the belief that, if he’d stayed just a bit longer, bigger plays were there to be had than when he escaped. With Mond, the challenge for Janocko and offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak will be to get him to strike the right balance between exercising patience in the pocket and using his legs to buy time when the pocket collapses.

57 responses to “Rick Spielman: Kirk Cousins is “our guy”

  1. If Kirk Cousins is your guy then don’t plan on a Super Bowl anytime soon.

  2. He’s better than Goff, that’s for sure!

    At least the Vikings have that going for them.

  3. What was Spielman supposed to say. I like Cousins, I feel the Vikings can win with him as long as they protect him. That also depends on weather the defense can stop the other team. There were games last year Cousins did all he could to win games only to have the defense let him down.

  4. I loved Keenum and he hasn’t been successful anywhere else because when Bradford went down hey adapted thier offense to the players they had. Other people tried to plug him into their offense and his faults came out. I found him fun to watch and always a risk to make a play. I understand the logic in letting him go but he got us to within one game of the big show in a year he wasn’t even supposed to see the field. Even against all data and logic, I still liked Keenum. I hope the kid brings some of those exciting aspects back to the Vikes.

  5. The question that didn’t need to be asked. Mond’s upside this year is to win the backup job. Nothing wrong with that. Many people had mouth Cousins. Many of those people ignore all the stats. Yes, stats are important. Cousins is absolutely top 8-10 in the nfl. His stats say top 5-6. Is that enough? Perhaps. The offense sure wasn’t the problem last year. That was obvious.

  6. irishlion62 says:
    May 9, 2021 at 10:43 am

    If Kirk Cousins is your guy then don’t plan on a Super Bowl anytime soon.
    ********
    Viking fans, by nature, generally don’t. 😃

  7. Cousins has not done much (besides taking oodles of Vikings ca$h) to warrant that status.

  8. “Cousins is our guy… probably… for the next two seasons… because of the dumb contract extension we gave him.”

  9. 1. Does anyone think Mond is anywhere near as good a prospect as Fields?

    2. Will Mond sit for 2 years?

    3. I’d rather have Fields, and have him sit a year, than Mond.

  10. Cousins has consistently been a top-10 quarterback. The Viking’s problems are not due to Cousins. Maybe if the Vinkings had a defense that could stop somebody, it would help.

  11. Guaranteed money not very well spent will have you saying those things.

  12. Passing on Mac Jones to draft a project who will likely never develop beyond a backup caliber player should be the final strike for Spielman. It’s obvious the guy can’t figure out the oline or QB position.

  13. Cousins is a man of faith. He wouldn’t have cared if they would have drafted all quarterbacks. Think I’m wrong? How much better off is the WFT without him?

  14. Every team doesn’t have the goal of getting to the super bowl. It’s QB league, and the best QB’s overwhelmingly win the super bowls. But then when you start winning, every player thinks they’re a HOFer, and they all want to be paid. Other teams think that just because a player shared the same locker room with a winning team, that somehow they’ll rub some magic off on their guys, and they’re willing to pay for that. It’s true. Not every team wants to win. So winning 8 or 9 games a year is often more profitable. Teams will never admit it publicly, but you should hear what they’re saying in private. The Vikings know they have no real chance with Cousins at QB. And they’ve never won, yet Spielman keeps his job. What does that tell you? It tells me the accountants are happy.

  15. The Vikings can do well with Cousins. He may not ever be the game-changer you wish he was, but he’s among the best game-managers playing.

  16. Cousins has the 6th highest passer rating in league history. He has about the same TD passes per start as Big Ben, Philip Rivers or Russel Wilson. If you’re not winning enough, this QB is not the reason.

  17. Kirk had a shaky start then an outstanding year; there’s not much he can do when the guards and center routinely get pushed back into his lap .

  18. NFL teams, for the most part, succeed when they have a well-balanced team.

    Look at the Packers. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but haven’t sniffed a Super Bowl in 11 years. Is it Rodger’s fault? Is it the coaches or the owners?

    It’s everything.

    The odds of winning a Super Bowl each year are 1 in 32. That means that if everything were equal, a team should expect to win a Super Bowl once every 32 years. Those odds aren’t good for fans.

    The Vikings haven’t been to a Super Bowl in 44 years. They have NEVER won a Super Bowl, even though that did have some good quarterbacks.

  19. If you listen carefully, you can just make out Justin Jefferson screaming at Spielman.

  20. Cousins has an elite arm. The disrespect he gets is really mind blowing. He’s just unfortunately been labeled as an easy punching bag for uniformed and ignorant fans and media personalities.

    I guarantee you the instant we don’t have cousins, we go back to the dark days of changing QBs every single year and bringing in old veterans as a quick patch to hope we can throw it all together for one season-which never works for us.

    Cousins may not be a guy who can get you a ring every year like mahomes or Brady but he is definitely talented enough to have an Eli, Flacco, or foles kind of run. In terms of arm talent, cousins is better than Eli, Flacco, and foles. Heck he’s similar to all 3 of them in almost every metric.

  21. iliketurtles says:
    May 9, 2021 at 3:14 pm
    Cousins has an elite arm. The disrespect he gets is really mind blowing. He’s just unfortunately been labeled as an easy punching bag for uniformed and ignorant fans and media personalities.

    I guarantee you the instant we don’t have cousins, we go back to the dark days of changing QBs every single year and bringing in old veterans as a quick patch to hope we can throw it all together for one season-which never works for us.

    Cousins may not be a guy who can get you a ring every year like mahomes or Brady but he is definitely talented enough to have an Eli, Flacco, or foles kind of run. In terms of arm talent, cousins is better than Eli, Flacco, and foles. Heck he’s similar to all 3 of them in almost every metric.

    ——-

    He is nowhere near similar to Eli, Flacco or Foles in the one area that actually counts….. postseason success

  22. jimmysee says:
    May 9, 2021 at 11:25 am
    Cousins has not done much (besides taking oodles of Vikings ca$h) to warrant that status.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Cousins just had 4,265 yards passing and 35 TDS vs 13 INTs with a 105 QBR. What else does he need to do to help the Vikings, play defense? 4th ranked offense/27th ranked defense in 2020. Look for a Minnesota QB that has thrown for at least 35 TDs in a season… I’ll help you. Try going all the way back to 2004. Yeah, he’s not done much.

  23. golforepar says:
    May 9, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Cousins is still looking for the Vikings trophy cabinet!
    *********
    It’s really not all that hard to find.
    It’s in the same room they store all the mops and brooms.

  24. Well said but hardly true. Mond will be the starter before the year is over. Mond, Fields and Hurts are the future of the NFC.

  25. Well, I guess if anything, Viking’s fans know this year is another year wasted. Once the playoffs start, the Vikings will be watching from home again. All three of them need to go. Spielman, the head coach, and Cousins will have to be booted if the Vikings are serious about having a potential playoff team or at the very least, a winning football team.

  26. Spielman had to say that. What else can he do? But Cousins is an average QB. He was 18th in QBR last season, 13th in 2019 and 14th in 2018. Mediocre, but the Vikes aren’t in position to draft a top prospect and don’t want to mortgage the future to move up. It’s a tough position to be in but they’re kinda stuck with Cousins.

  27. As unpopular as it may be, Cousins is the most talented QB the Vikings have had in their existence. And that includes Tarkenton.
    What Kirk lacks is he doesn’t appear to have that “hates to lose more than he loves winning” mentality the truly great ones seem to share. The way he’s handled his contract negotiations throughout his career seems to indicate that football is simply a means to an end. He’s good at it, and fully understands how to get his while the getting is there. There is life after football. If he wins a Lombardi along the way, well that’s icing on the cake.
    I don’t think anyone can really say how Mond will pan out. Maybe he’ll be a league starter, maybe a really good career back up. Who knows. Plenty of guys have carved out a very nice career holding a clip board. Watching tape it’s clear he has a lot of work to do. But his year over year progression, coupled with Jimbo’s offense and tutelage have made it an intriguing pick up at least. He will not start for Minny until Cousins is done.

  28. If spielman and zimmer had “job secutity” Vikes would’ve moved up and chosen Fields
    …..instead, they decided to go for the short term improvement, the best odds to save their jobs, but not the best plan for the future of the team…..saw it coming before the draft…..

  29. “. I think Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf accomplished something Sunday that someone who hadn’t run track since high school would be incredibly proud of. Metcalf ran a 10.37-second 100-meter dash in the U.S. Track and Field Golden Games, finishing 15th of 17 sprinters in the prestigious event. Imagine if the 235-pound Metcalf dropped 20 pounds and trained for the event. If he cut one-fifth of a second from his time, he might make the Olympics one day.”

    Cutting 1/5 of a second is a lot at that level and would get him to 10.17. No one has made the USA Olympic team in 2004 or later without running under 10.00 So he’d really have to cut two/fifths of a second off his time. In football, that would be the difference between a first round pick and an undrafted free agent.

  30. The problem with Cousins isn’t his stats. He puts up good numbers. But he’s a bumslayer. When the lights get bright and the game is on the line, with few exceptions, he wilts. This is not any kind of new news.

  31. what a shocker with his 35 mil base salary for 2022 fully guaranteed, he holds a lot of leverage, and if he does not like a trade partner he wont restructure, on the other han he can tag on more years as needed for salary cap relief for the vikings if he’s feeling generous.

    he ain’t going anywhere until he wants to.

  32. Cousins is an easy target for people who don’t know much and just want to throw out a lazy take and bash him and/or the Vikings. He’s not spectacular, but he’s much better than he’s given credit for.

    And his salary is where it is because the WTF tagged him two years in a row, which bumped the QB salary floor up several notches very quickly.

  33. As the IrishLion (although I am the real Irish Lions fan) said earlier, if you are counting on Cousins as the key to winning a super bowl then start rebuilding now. I am a MSU fan since birth and i was happy for cousins to get franchised twice by washington. Then when he fleeced Minnesota for $90M guarOOONTEEEEED, I felt the con was up. Cousins was the QB for Holland Christian which just opened up in Holland Michigan as maybe class C high school. Then Dantonio who knew nothing about quarterbacks and lost his number one recruit from Lowell, MI, picked cousins to come to MSU. Those MSU teams were loaded except at QB and Cousins rode that to the position he is now. But he never won a game on his talent alone in college or NFL. I am proud as a state fan that he is set up financially for life but the Jig is up. He is making Minnesota look more and more like Fargo the movie every year he starts.

  34. When you draft from a party school that produces very few NFL-calibre QBs, you have no choice but to say that The Albatross is your guy.

  35. OH BOYYYYYYYY…………….old “Ducky” Cousins.
    Here to another sub-average season.

  36. At least he didn’t throw a temper like our friend to the East. There are plenty plenty of QBs that have won the Super Bowl not as good as Cousins. Flacco, Brad Johnson, Jim McMahon etc etc…..you dont’ need a once in a generation QB to win the big game.

  37. AFW says:
    May 10, 2021 at 8:12 am
    Cousins is an easy target for people who don’t know much and just want to throw out a lazy take and bash him and/or the Vikings. He’s not spectacular, but he’s much better than he’s given credit for.
    //////
    100% true. Cousins is actually in top 5-6 QB stats for the last 6 years. Vikings defense and special teams were really bad last year. Vikings offense scored the second most TDs in team history. But the lazy take is; Cousins didn’t make the playoffs.

  38. jojomogir says:
    May 9, 2021 at 7:59 pm
    Spielman had to say that. What else can he do? But Cousins is an average QB
    ////////
    Interesting. You think there’s another QB on the Vikings roster better than Cousins? Cousins is the only QB in the nfl that has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 25 TDs each of the last 6 seasons.

  39. maximusintoxicus says:
    May 9, 2021 at 12:04 pm
    Cousins is a man of faith. He wouldn’t have cared if they would have drafted all quarterbacks. Think I’m wrong? How much better off is the WFT without him?
    ////////
    I’m not really following what your point is here, or if you’re complimenting or insulting Cousins. But, to answer your question, the WFT is 17-31 since Cousins left.

  40. Cousins wasn’t the problem last year, it was the defense! There were at least three games that should have went in the “W” column but the defense crumbled in the final minutes of the game. Seattle, Dallas and Tennessee were all wins if the defense could have made a stop. None which is the fault of Capt. Kirk.

    The Vikings had a top 10 QB last year and a top 5 offense….with a very terrible O Line. Major injuries on defense last year and that coupled with two Rooks starting in the secondary was a train wreck. But its all Cousins fault right?

  41. I don’t get the Cousins hate. I also don’t get the concept that QBs are the key to winning a Super Bowl. Anyone ever heard of Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco, or Nick Foles? An ok/decent QB is all it takes as long as the rest of your team is good. The Vikings problem isn’t their quarterback; it’s defense, OL, management, and coaching. Put any QB you want on the Vikings of 2020 and you’re going to get the same result you got last year.

  42. When you readily accept that you probably won’t even make the playoffs, let alone win the SB, then Kirk is a good QB for your team

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