4 scapegoats if things go wrong for the Vikings in 2022 playoffs

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins and Kevin O'Connell
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins and Kevin O'Connell /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Kirk Cousins – QB

Even though Kirk Cousins is putting together another Pro Bowl-caliber season, he’s not getting anything like the credit he deserves. The quarterback has always been a polarizing figure, with disappointing performances when the lights are brightest raising further doubts about his capabilities to lead the Minnesota Vikings to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Oddsmakers across the country aren’t expecting Minnesota to put up much of a fight. But in a weird way, this can take the pressure off Cousins and his teammates should they get past the New York Giants in the wildcard round.

Pressure is something Cousins handles much better these days. It’s far from consistent when the stakes are high, but his road win at the New Orleans Saints in 2020 shifted the narrative and made people think a little differently about the former Michigan State star.

The Giants and experienced defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will throw the kitchen sink at Cousins, given the offensive line’s injury problems. This is something the signal-caller must be ready for and react accordingly.

The weapons are plentiful, and the Vikings are also going to lean on running back Dalvin Cook heavily. But if they come out of this game one and done, then the veteran quarterback will take more blame than most heading into the final year of his deal.