2021 NFC North preview: How do the Detroit Lions stack up?

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press) /
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Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) /

Minnesota Vikings  offense- quarterbacks

On the other side of the ball, the Vike’s were skol-ing lots of touchdowns on the ground with Davin Cook healthy for most of the year for a second year in a row. With Cook going crazy, the passing game was very effective, leading to a 4th-ranked finish in total offense. Rookie wide receiver, Justin Jefferson had 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns opposite Adam Thielen who had 925 yards and 14 trips to pay-dirt.

Rookie tight end Irv Smith, Jr. chipped in with 365 yards and another 5 scores. What did all of that mean for trigger-man Kirk Cousins? A 4,265-yard campaign with 35 touchdowns, and just 13 interceptions while completing 67.6% of his passes, all stats from Pro Football Reference’s website.

The elephant in the room and the most odd thing about Cousin’s best year statistically, is that it seems like the team isn’t happy with him. Perhaps it’s the win-loss record, which mostly had to do with poor defense? Maybe living in the same division with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford has tainted the Vikings front office or they just don’t like his price tag?

Cousins has carried a stigma since being in Washington that he cannot win big games and after getting his large contract, the noise has not gone down as many regard him as a bottleneck despite his production and evidence of problems on the defensive side of the ball.

Whatever the case, general manager Rick Spielman reportedly went after Justin Fields in Round 1 and settled for Kellen Mond in Round 3. That’s curious for a team that seems to have solved their problems at the position. Nate Stanley serves as the third quarterback at the moment.

Mond is a 6-foot-3, mobile, good athlete with a good arm, good decision-making, and improving accuracy. Many see him as something of a project but with a good pre-draft showing at events like the Senior Bowl, Mond showed that he belonged in the conversation of quality prospects at his position. He could push for time quickly if the Vikings really want to move on from Cousins and his large contract.

It is possible that Cousins’ ego has not taken a Rodgers-esque hit from drafting Mond or flirting with Fields as his replacements. It’s also possible that he keeps Mond away from the field for at least a year with good play. However, no person wants to look over their shoulder constantly or wonder if they have the confidence of their organization behind them, and it makes us wonder how long he will tolerate the implication.

Moving on to the rest of the offense …