Why Kirk Cousins is the new version of Andy Dalton

(Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Andy Dalton was once viewed as the prime meridian of NFL quarterbacks, but that title should now be given to Minnesota Vikings signal-caller, Kirk Cousins.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is one of the toughest players in his position group to evaluate. Some think Cousins is great, or he has the potential to be great, and others think he’ll never be anything more than just another above-average quarterback in the NFL.

More than a handful of years ago, fans of the Cincinnati Bengals had similar feelings about their team’s starting signal-caller at the time, Andy Dalton. Some felt Dalton could lead the Bengals to a high amount of success, while others didn’t think the team was ever going to be able to accomplish anything significant with him starting under center.

This view of Dalton led to the creation of the “Dalton Scale” by the late Chris Wesseling from the “Around The NFL” podcast. Heading into the 2022 season, the “Dalton Scale” should undergo a transformation and become known as the “Cousins Scale”.

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins should be the new prime meridian of NFL signal-callers

So what exactly is the “Dalton Scale” and why should Cousins be the new face of it? Here’s how Wesseling explained it when he came up with the creation a few years ago.

"“Andy Dalton is the prime meridian of NFL quarterbacks. He represents quarterback purgatory. If you are ranked below Andy Dalton, your franchise needs a quarterback. If you are ranked above Andy Dalton, you’re in ship-shape, everything’s figured out, you’re good to go.”"

Let’s just make this clear real quick. This isn’t a comparison to what Cousins and Dalton have been able to do out on the field during their playing careers. It’s more about replacing Dalton with Cousins as the prime meridian of NFL quarterbacks.

So far this offseason, Cousins has been ranked as the 15th-best quarterback in the league by Pro Football Network and the 16th-best by both Sports Illustrated’s NFL Draft Bible and NBC Sports’ Chris Simms.

When looking at the signal-callers who ended up with lower rankings than Cousins on some of these lists like Daniel Jones, Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz, and Jared Goff, and then looking at some of the quarterbacks that ranked ahead of Cousins like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers, Minnesota’s starting signal-caller really is the present-day prime meridian of NFL quarterbacks.

Will Cousins ever relinquish this title? Well, the Vikings are hoping that their new head coach Kevin O’Connell and the rest of the team’s new coaching staff can help the veteran quarterback reach a new level of success that someone like Dalton was never able to achieve during the prime of his NFL career.

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