Since Vikings training camp started about a month ago, Kirk Cousins ...
*Missed several days of practice as a close contact of QB Kellen Mond, who had COVID and had to miss even more time.
*Drew the ire of his head coach for his non-vaccination status — part of what we presume is still among the league's worst and will reportedly draw a visit Monday from Dr. Michael Osterholm to talk to Vikings players.
*Watched as the Vikings on Monday brought back old friend Everson Griffen, who played 10 seasons for the Vikings (two of them as Cousins' teammate) but just eight months ago on Twitter bashed Cousins and suggested head coach Mike Zimmer never wanted the QB.
*Played three series in Saturday's second preseason game, gaining just 23 yards on five short completions (in seven attempts) while the Vikings failed to score an offensive touchdown for the second consecutive outing.
In the words of Zimmer: "So other than that, it's been great."
All of that leads to a season in which columnist Patrick Reusse says Cousins is under the most pressure in his career, with fans ready to boo him at a moment's notice and long-term organizational stability in question. Reusse laid out those points on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast, and it's hard to argue with the logic.
If you don't see the podcast player, tap here to listen.
A cynic might say Monday's double-whammy of Osterholm and Griffen is part of a strategy to make Cousins actively unhappy.
But a realist such as myself would say this: Now, more than ever, the Vikings need Cousins — and they need to lean into his strengths.
The first part: Jake Browning and Kellen Mond absolutely are not ready for primetime. As uneven as the Cousins drives were on Saturday, the Vikings have two No. 3 quarterbacks behind him, at least for now. They don't have a legitimate backup, so as long as Cousins stays upright it's very clearly his job.
The second part: For all the criticism of Cousins, he does a few things very well. He has great touch and accuracy, which was reinforced with his place in the top 10 of ESPN rankings in both of those categories.
Give him time, and he'll pick a defense apart — so get creative, move the pocket, and at least give him a chance behind this questionable (again) offensive line. It's fine to try to improve his off-script playmaking, but that's never going to be Cousins.
I don't know. Maybe the Vikings are just trying to bring out the fiery "You like that!" angry Cousins of 2015 with all they are throwing his way. I guess if I was Zimmer, I might sit Cousins down sometime between now and Sept. 12 and renew my faith in him.
Because everyone's job might depend on it.