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Dane Mizutani: Was the Kirk Cousins era with Vikings a failure? It certainly wasn’t a success.

The dust has settled and the Kirk Cousins era is over in Minnesota. His tenure with the Vikings ended rather unceremoniously this week when he officially signed a four-year, $180 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

After taking some time to thank the Vikings in a short video on social media, Cousins was introduced by the Falcons in a grand ceremony that felt more like a coronation.

You would have thought the Falcons had won the Super Bowl with how much content they pumped out. They will soon find out that all they did was sign somebody who won’t get them anywhere close to the ultimate prize.

It was a similar vibe on March 15, 2018, when Cousins was introduced by the Vikings at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. The cast of characters included former general manager Rick Spielman and former head coach Mike Zimmer. They hitched their wagon to Cousins and were fired largely because he couldn’t get the Vikings over the hump.

It has been the same story for Cousins throughout his professional career. He’s good enough to flirt with the playoffs on a regular basis. He’s not good enough to win consistently once he gets there.

It’s important to remember the situation Cousins was walking into when he arrived in Minnesota.

All the pieces were in place after Case Keenum helped orchestrate the Minneapolis Miracle en route to the Vikings clinching a spot in the NFC Championship Game. Though the Vikings considered running it back with the same core, they upgraded to Cousins with the belief that he could help them win the Super Bowl.

That was the goal when the Vikings signed Cousins to a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract. Let’s not lose sight of that. That group of players was ready to compete for a Super Bowl.

That never happened with Cousins. He never even sniffed the Super Bowl. He missed the playoffs more times than he made them in Minnesota. He still has won just one game in the playoffs, an overtime win over the New Orleans Saints, which paved the way for a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the next round.

His only other trip to the playoffs with the Vikings set the stage for perhaps his biggest blunder. How could anybody forget it? With everything on the line in the final minutes, Cousins threw short of the sticks to tight end T.J. Hockenson, capping a devastating home loss to the New York Giants.

That moment perfectly encapsulates the roller coaster of having Cousins at the helm. He long has found a way to lose in the most devastating way possible. It actually might be the place he has shown the most consistency throughout his career.

So why are so many Vikings fans sad he’s leaving town?

The decision to star in the Netflix docuseries “Quarterback” played a major role as Cousins became an overnight sensation and fan favorite. The scenes humanized him in a way he never has been humanized before as he leaned into his dorkiness in the name of Kohl’s Cash and Kirko Chainz. Maybe it’s fitting that the best thing he did with the Vikings had absolutely nothing to do with his play on the field.

There’s also the fact that Cousins was playing lights out last season when his Achilles popped. The mystique of what could have been burrowed its way into the subconscious of so many after he crumbled to the natural grass at Lambeau Field. You were allowed to believe this time was going to be different for Cousins because, well, he never got a chance to prove otherwise.

That’s exactly what power agent Mike McCartney was able to sell as he secured another bag for his client. The idea of Kirk Cousins has always been better than the real thing. That’s something the Vikings learned the hard way in a chapter for the franchise that can only be defined as a failure.

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