Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell had a front row seat to Matthew Stafford’s rise from a losing situation with the Detroit Lions to hoisting a Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LVI with the Los Angeles Rams.
Everybody loves a good rags to riches story, and the hope is that O’Connell can write the sequel in Minnesota. The only question is whether his leading man, Kirk Cousins, is good enough to get the job done.
During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, O’Connell was asked why he thought Cousins is a Super Bowl quarterback after just seeing one as the offensive coordinator for Stafford and the Rams.
“I feel really good about the staff that I was able to hire from a leadership standpoint but also just a football intellect and understanding of playing this game at a high level,” said O’Connell. “The one thing that resonates is having those guys turn on the tape, and man for man on our coaching staff say, ‘We got a pretty good quarterback here.’
“When you just look at the tape and you look at the way he’s played—our staff and obviously myself—it’s one of the huge reasons why I was so excited about the opportunity here was his ability to play winning football shows up on the tape.”
Cousins’ mere presence on the roster is polarizing for a lot of Vikings fans.
Some believe the team is making a commitment to mediocrity by tying themselves to him, while others are being moved by faith in what they see on paper.
Cousins threw for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season on a team with a bad defense. But some would point to his hefty contract as one of the biggest reasons for the team’s cap struggles and talent deficiencies.
He’s being paid like a top-10 quarterback in the league without actually being a top-10 quarterback—yet. That all obviously could change with O’Connell taking over the reins as head coach. Stafford has always been a talented quarterback, even on the losing Lions, but he shot out of a cannon when connecting with O’Connell in Los Angeles.
Maybe it’s Cousins’ turn to do the same.
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