Is Matthew Stafford the best QB in the NFC North this year?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Cousins in the Minnesota huddle
(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Vikings skilled personnel

The Vikings moved on from discontented wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who has paired very well with Adam Theilen to form a very good duo, provided Theilen is 100% healthy. Now that Diggs is in Buffalo, the Vikings have utilized draft capital to select the newest deep threat on the roster in rookie Justin Jefferson, who will replace Diggs in time. Tajae Sharpe, Olabisi Johnson, and rookie K.J. Osborn will also try to provide help.

At tight end, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith, and Tyler Conklin are the best trio in the division and all capable targets. Rudolph isn’t as dangerous as he used to be but Smith is coming along, though, and should be the best receiving option. Overall, the receiver corps and tight ends are pretty good already and have upside due to several young prospects like Jefferson.

A few weeks ago, the running backs looked primed to be an elite group, spearheaded by ultra-talented Dalvin Cook. Cook has since made it known that he does not intend to play in 2020 unless he gets a “reasonable extension”, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported, citing an unnamed source close to Cook. The comment inferred that what was offered to him was not reasonable to the 24-year-old starter coming into the last year of his rookie deal.

This is the biggest unknown for the Minnesota Vikings bid to take the division and keep teams like the Detroit Lions from overtaking them for a playoff spot. Backup, Alexander Mattison, is a capable player but a downgrade in trying to maintain a balanced attack like the one Cousins piloted in 2019. The Vikings have part-time contributors past Mattison in options like Ameer Abdullah, and Michael Boone.

If forced to throw more Cousins is likely to have bigger numbers than his 3,603 yards passing, 26 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and 69.1% completion percentage, although his completion percentage seems likely to take a hit if asked to throw a couple of hundred more times. He simply wasn’t asked to go out and win games, which they did as a team running the ball and playing good team defense. The offense ranked eighth in the NFL, the passing game 23rd and ground game 6th, while the defense was fifth in points against.