Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah indicated that he doesn't see quarterback Kirk Cousins as one of the top players at his position while speaking to USA Today's Jori Epstein.
"I'll be frank," he said on Friday while discussing the team's decision to roll with Cousins while several other high-profile quarterbacks were traded in blockbuster deals this offseason. "The one asset where you get nervous about not burning it down is quarterback."
Adofo-Mensah also called Cousins a "a good quarterback" but acknowledged that "we don't have Tom Brady, we don't have Pat(rick) Mahomes."
"(The Super Bowl) is more likely to win if you have that quarterback," he added. "It's very unlikely to have that quarterback."
On Tuesday, Adofo-Mensah told reporters that Cousins and the organization are "in a good place," however.
Cousins, 33, has always divided opinion to some degree. From a statistical standpoint, he's a very solid quarterback who threw for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season while completing 66.3 percent of his passes.
That earned him his third Pro Bowl nod and was the third time in four years with the Vikings he threw for 4,000 or more yards and at least 30 touchdowns.
What that hasn't translated to, however, is consistent winning. The Vikings have gone just 33-29-1 with Cousins as the starter over the past four years, making the playoffs just once. While there are other factors to consider—roster-building, coaching, etc.—it's hard to ignore that Cousins has struggled to elevate the Vikings into a consistent playoff team.
He's paid like one of the top players at his position, however. In March, he signed a one-year, $35 million extension that will keep him under contract through the 2023 season and raised his 2022 earnings to $40 million. The $35 million average annual salary is tied for ninth among quarterbacks, per Spotrac.
That is another reason Cousins divides opinion—he's raked in the cash throughout his career, with Spotrac estimating those earnings at $161.6 million over 10 seasons. That's quite the outlay for a player who has gone 1-2 in the playoffs in his career.
So Adofo-Mensah is correct—Cousins isn't a Brady or Mahomes. How the Vikings obtain such a player, or attempt to, remains to be seen. Likewise, Cousins' future in Minnesota may not extend past 2023.