Paul Allen has become nearly as synonymous with the Minnesota Vikings as the color purple. The long-time play-by-play announcer and KFAN radio host is the primary source of information for many fans. Yet, Allen is nowhere near a hot-take artist. In fact, he is the opposite. When fans are up in arms arguing about divisive topics, you can usually find Allen playing the middle.
For this exact reason, when Allen develops a strong or repetitive stance, it’s all the more reason to take it seriously.
For the past few weeks, that is exactly what he’s done. He has quietly and continuously sounded the silent alarm about how Kirk Cousins has looked this off-season.
On Tuesday’s episode of his popular 9 to Noon show, Allen once again repeated his thought process in a discussion with guest Gabe Henderson about playing time during the third preseason game.
I’m tired of saying this over and over, but I think it bears repeating because he’s the quarterback. He’s super accurate, he’s an incredibly important piece to this equation. But Cousins, just from what I’ve seen, has not consistently lit things up in the off-season like the previous three off-seasons. Then he gets in the game, and we’ve got three drives, and I didn’t think it was anything special.
… For my taste, it’s just not clicking play after play after play after play with this quarterback.
This is the exact sentiment he has expressed repeatedly for weeks. While the media was freaking out about whether or not Kirk was vaccinated, Allen was concerned about his readiness and performance. While the whole town worries about the backup quarterback position for injury reasons, Allen is worrying about Kirk’s approach.
Of all the disaster scenarios that have circulated since the end of last season, this is the one that hasn’t really been discussed. What if Kirk starts this season as he did last year? What if he throws a bunch of important interceptions in the first six games and the Vikings can’t recover?
With all of the one-year contracts and a coach and GM’s future hanging in the balance, this team was clearly built to have a big year. It certainly can’t do that if the quarterback isn’t in the right place to start the season.
Cousins is one of the most tightly wound people in the entire NFL. He comically watched every play of his entire NFL career this off-season and then talked to the media about it as though it was a good thing. This is a man who thinks, and then overthinks, and then overthinks his overthinking. When you add in the COVID situation, a rookie draft pick, and the increased pressure of a better roster ready to win now, I can’t imagine Kirk’s head is exactly where it needs to be. But he better get it there soon. He likely won’t appear in the final preseason game and the opening stretch of the season is brutal.
It’s important to point out that Allen is not attacking or criticizing Kirk. He’s not saying that he won’t have a good season. He’s just expressing what he feels is an important concern. And given his access, he’s likely right to do so. For the sake of all Vikings fans, let’s hope this alarm is something Kirk can easily turn off when he steps on the field in Week 1.