How Kirk Cousins can earn another contract from the Vikings

(Photo by Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins is entering a crucial year with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Kellen Mond in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, a signal that they may be ready to move on from Kirk Cousins in the near future. Cousins has not had a perfect tenure with Minnesota, but his play has certainly not been bad enough to consider moving on from before his contract is up.

Cousins enters the 2021 season with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. The Vikings failed to make the playoffs last season, but that was far from Kirk’s fault. Now that the roster has a chance to get healthy, there is reason to believe Cousins can lead them back into the playoffs with a high-powered offense.

Minnesota prided itself on the run game behind Dalvin Cook in 2020 and the passing game thrived as a result. Justin Jefferson was arguably the best rookie in football last season thanks to a strong showing from Cousins and some focus on the other weapons in the offense.

Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr., and Jefferson have the potential to make up a very exciting receiving group in 2021. Can Cousins deliver enough to earn himself a new contract?

How can Kirk Cousins earn a contract extension from the Minnesota Vikings?

Drafting Mond may have been a small threat to Cousins and his future in Minnesota. Even if the selection ignites a fire under the veteran quarterback and it leads to him being the guy moving forward, it was a worthy draft pick. If Mond develops well enough to take the job in the near future, then it was clearly the right decision.

The biggest factor that could determine Cousins’ improvement in 2021 is the offensive line. Minnesota made it a point to clean up the front line in this year’s draft. Adding Christian Darrisaw to play left tackle and Wyatt Davis to fill in at right guard were necessary moves. Both rookies should win starting jobs at their respective positions.

Darrisaw and Davis are both young options with a ton of talent in pass-blocking sets. Cleaner pockets should open the door for the offense to take an even larger step forward after a strong showing last season.

We all know that Cousins is limited as an athlete and a bad offensive line gave him some problems in years past. With that trend hopefully in the rearview, the veteran signal-caller should be primed to show the NFL what he is capable of as a passer.

Cousins is not out of the door just yet. The Vikings have not had steady play at quarterback in a long time, but he can be that guy. With the defense seeing a large-scale talent increase from last season, Minnesota should be in the running for a playoff spot in 2021.

As long as Mike Zimmer’s defense handles business as a top-15 unit in the league, which should not be that difficult, the Vikings’ offense will be free to lead the way. A healthy run game, brilliant passing attack with athletic weapons across the field, and a new-look offensive line gives Cousins all of the tools he needs.

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If Cousins has success with a proven offensive line in 2021 and shows that the lack of protection was holding him back, Minnesota could feel obligated to retain him. The Vikings’ offense is going to be very interesting next season.