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Lunchbreak: ESPN Likes Cousins' Chances to Have Significant Impact

Posted May 17, 2018

It’s been a little more than two months since Kirk Cousins joined the Vikings as one of the top free agents of the offseason.

And while there are still roughly four months to go until he plays his first regular-season game in Purple, plenty expect him to make waves in Minnesota.

A panel of ESPN football writers laid out which free agent quarterback will have the biggest impact on his new team, and half of them went with Cousins.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert was one of the writers who projected big success for Cousins and the Vikings.

He wrote:

It's really difficult to envision a scenario, other than injuries across the board on offense, in which Cousins doesn't produce big numbers and double-digit victories for the Vikings. It is less obvious that he'll prove a big upgrade from Case Keenum, who played one of the best seasons in franchise history last year, but in terms of the 2018 free-agent class, Cousins will have the most success this season.

Fellow writers Mike Clay and Matt Bowen also picked Cousins. Bowen wrote:

With running back Dalvin Cook back in the mix and a proven group of pass-catchers with which to work, Cousins is in position to post consistent numbers in Minnesota. Plus, given the Vikings' top-tier defense under Mike Zimmer, Cousins will benefit from bonus possessions and sudden- change opportunities. That's when you take a shot to the end zone.

Cousins, a former fourth-round pick in 2012 out of Michigan State, threw for 13,176 yards and 81 touchdowns while compiling a passer rating of 97.6 in the past three seasons as Washington’s starter. 

The panel included Washington’s Alex Smith and Drew Brees of New Orleans in the debate, even though Smith changed teams via a trade. Brees technically hit the market before re-signing with the Saints.

Cook listed as Vikings potential breakout player in 2018

Perhaps one of the most exciting storylines surrounding the Vikings entering the 2018 season is the return of Cook.

You can add Bleacher Reporter writer Maurice Moton to the list of people who can’t wait to see the Minnesota running back hit the field in a few months.

Moton recently released a list of a player from each team he expects to have a breakout season and tabbed the 2017 second-round pick as his choice for the Vikings.

Moton wrote:

Through the first four weeks of the previous season, running back Dalvin Cook ranked second in rushing yards with 354 before a torn ACL derailed his rookie campaign.

Now healthy, without Jerick McKinnon sharing touches in the backfield, Cook takes a fresh start with an upgrade at quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Minnesota still has some question marks concerning the offensive line, but the Florida State product also flashed exceptional hands as a receiver at the collegiate level.

Cousins will have someone who can handle the bulk of carries in the ground attack and a reliable target in the intermediate pass game as well. Despite Latavius Murray's presence in a complementary role, mark Cook down for 1,500-plus yards from scrimmage as a dual-threat option in Minnesota's backfield.

Cook provided an update last month on his recovery, saying he is ahead of schedule with his rehab.