Vikings fall to 1-4 with loss to Chiefs and Kirk Cousins era might be coming to a quiet end

Kirk Cousins is going to have a weird legacy with the Minnesota Vikings, if his time with the team is up after this season.

Cousins is in his sixth season with the Vikings. He's better than most people give him credit for but not good enough to be the kind of player who is celebrated forever in Minnesota. Quarterbacks are judged by team success and the Vikings haven't had enough of it with Cousins. They've won just one playoff game with Cousins.

Cousins probably had one more chance to make history with the Vikings this season, and it's quickly slipping away. The Vikings started the season 0-3 with three close losses, beat the Carolina Panthers and had a chance for a season-changing home win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. That fell short.

The Vikings lost 27-20 to the Chiefs. They had a chance in the fourth quarter. Cousins drove the Vikings downfield even with Justin Jefferson sidelined with an injury. They might have tied the game had Alexander Mattison not dropped a screen pass right on his hands with a few minutes left. That drive ended with a turnover on downs. A final Vikings drive ended when the clock ran out.

Cousins, who can become a free agent after this season, wasn't the problem. He played pretty well, with 284 yards and two touchdowns. But he didn't play well enough to make the difference in what would have been a huge win. That sums up his time with the Vikings.

Vikings fall short

The Vikings are 1-4 and that's historically not a good place to be in the NFL. The season isn't over but it already feels like time is running out.

Sunday's game started ominously. The Vikings got a 15-yard pass to Josh Oliver on their first play, and he fumbled. The Chiefs recovered and scored a touchdown on a short drive.

You need to score plenty of points to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Vikings couldn't do it. Minnesota did have a 13-10 lead in the second quarter but that was short-lived. The Chiefs tied the game before halftime, held the ball nearly the entire third quarter and the Vikings trailed 27-13 in the fourth quarter.

Cousins tried to get the Vikings back in it. They were down just seven points late in the fourth quarter and had a couple chances to put together a drive to save the win.

The first drive ended with a turnover on downs, when a pass interference flag in the end zone on fourth down was picked up. The Vikings had one more desperation shot in the final minute but no timeouts and a long way to go. On the final snap of the game from the Vikings had a shot from 38 yards away. Cousins never got off a pass. He was sacked.

That's fitting.

The Vikings and Kirk Cousins are 1-4 after a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
The Vikings and Kirk Cousins are 1-4 after a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

What's next for Cousins?

Cousins might leave after this season. He'll be 36 years old next season but there will be a market for him. Plenty of teams can use a quarterback who has four Pro Bowls to his name.

The Vikings could be ready to move on, though it's not like they have a better quarterback lined up. But the entire Cousins era has seemed a bit stale. Minnesota can't get over the hump. It's not Cousins' fault but it's not like it's changing either.

This season isn't over. The Vikings could rally. They won 13 games a season ago and are probably better than their record this season. Maybe Cousins returns next season. It's not like the Vikings have better options.

But it also seems likely the Cousins era ends with a very unsatisfying end. If that's the case, Vikings fans will forever be wanting more from it.