Kirk Cousins embraces those who doubt him. He loves the underdog role. Whether you’re an NFL executive, coach or a fan, if you think Cousins can’t do it, he wants to hear about it.
This point was driven home again in a recent feature on the Vikings new quarterback by Chad Graff of The Athletic.
“I see it as there still are doubters,” Cousins told Graff. “I see it as there are just as many people who don’t think it was a good idea to bring me in.”
Who are these people?
Cousins told Graff a story about a group of guys who were golfing and discussing the decisions to sign the QB. One of the golfers, according to Cousins, asked why the Vikings would spend so much money on Cousins when Case Keenum led the Vikings to a 13-3 record in 2017 and could have been kept for less?
“That makes you realize there are still lots of people who are doubting, who are going to say, ‘Why did you bring him in?'” Cousins said. “So I don’t think the narrative really changes for me. Yes, I’ve climbed one mountain. So yes, relative to previous circumstances, we’re further along. But with where I’m at, there’s still more mountains to climb and people saying you can’t climb it.”
Cousins has spent the majority of his days on a football field embracing this narrative. Whether it be at Michigan State, where Nick Foles was the hot shot in front of him at first, or with the Washington Redskins, who drafted Cousins in the fourth round (102nd overall) of the 2012 draft after taking Robert Griffin III with the second-overall pick. Cousins also was able to use the fact that Washington placed the franchise tag on him twice — yes, it was a huge payday, but not a long-term commitment — instead of giving him a multi-year contract.
But Cousins is going to have to realize that his days as an underdog who “nobody” believes in are finished. The Vikings did not reward him with a three-year, $84 million guaranteed contract because they had doubts about his ability.
They did so because they believe he will be the key piece of a team that can win a Super Bowl and, unlike those guys on the golf course that Cousins heard about (we’ll assume they exist), they have tremendous faith in him. A faith the Vikings clearly did not have in Keenum.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t some doubt about Cousins cashing in to the tune of $84 million but unless your name is Brady, Brees or Rodgers there are going to be questions.
Cousins trying to find doubters when he’s one of the NFL’s highest-paid players is a reach. If he wants to use that mindset privately that’s fine — plenty of successful athletes have done that — but I don’t think any of Cousins’ teammates are going to want to hear about how people don’t believe in him.
What they are going to want to hear is a quarterback who exudes extreme confidence. A quarterback who has the ability to tune out everything else and get the Vikings to the Super Bowl.
There is no doubting that.