Why Kirk Cousins could lead the Vikings to the NFC North title

Kirk Cousins, Vikings
NFL Analysis Network

The Minnesota Vikings have not won the NFC North division title since 2017. It is a division that the Green Bay Packers have mostly dominated, as they have won seven of the last 10 and two consecutive. However, 2021 could be when Kirk Cousins helps lead the Vikings back to the top of the standings.

Sometimes you need a little outside help to win a division and the Vikings could get that this year from the Packers if they are unable to convince Aaron Rodgers to come back and play for them. While Green Bay has a very talented roster, teams will not be as intimated playing against them if Jordan Love or Blake Bortles is under center instead of Rodgers.

Winning divisions and advancing in the postseason is what the Vikings brought Cousins in to do. They believed he was an upgrade over Case Keenum at quarterback and would help get them over the hump. In three years as the Vikings quarterback, he has made one playoff appearance, going 1-1.

However, they are set up well to make another run at the postseason this year as the NFC North champions.

Cousins and the Vikings’ offense looked like they have finally turned a corner. After relying heavily on the team’s defense his first two seasons, the offense came to life in 2020.

Cousins threw for 4.265 yards and 35 touchdowns, which was a career-high, despite losing Stefon Diggs. Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota hit on their extra draft pick, selecting LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Jefferson caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. He and Adam Theilen, who caught 74 passes for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns, are one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. The explosive Irv Smith Jr. will take on a bigger role this season as Kyle Rudolph departed in free agency.

Cousins also has the support of an excellent running game spearheaded by Dalvin Cook. Even Cook’s backup, Andrew Mattison, has shown he can get it done when called upon.

With the weapons he has at his disposal, Kirk Cousins can lead the Vikings back to the top of the NFC North. However, he will need some help from their defense this season to get that done, as that unit was a mess in 2020.