San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan dreamt of inserting quarterback Kirk Cousins into his highly-regarded offense. Shanahan had hoped to acquire Cousins via free agency either last year or this offseason. The Washington Redskins complicated things last year when the team used the franchise tag on the quarterback.

The Cousins delay forced the 49ers to investigate other options. One of those options was New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, of whom Shanahan was fond when the quarterback was coming out of college. Shanahan liked Garoppolo so much that he pushed for the Cleveland Browns to draft the quarterback in 2014 when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator there. The Browns drafted Johnny Manziel instead.

Fast forward three years to 2017 with Cousins' availability delayed. The 49ers called Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before the draft to inquire about a trade for Garoppolo -- and Tom Brady (worth a shot). The Patriots were uninterested, and San Francisco moved forward with Brian Hoyer as the placeholder at quarterback.

Fast forward again to October 30, 2017. The winless 49ers had just lost their eighth-straight game and were in desperate need of a boost. With the trade deadline approaching, they got one when Belichick called and asked if there was still interest in Garoppolo. There was, and San Francisco surrendered a second-round draft pick in exchange for the quarterback.

Still, even after the trade, it took weeks for Shanahan to get over the diminished possibility of acquiring Cousins. Garoppolo started and won every game for the 49ers during December. The five-game winning streak to end the 2017 season put Shanahan's mind at ease. Maybe his dream reunion with Cousins would not happen, but it looked like the 49ers had their answer at quarterback, which accelerated the rebuilding process while exciting the fanbase.

Cousins ended up hitting free agency and signed a massive deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Garoppolo signed a five-year contract to remain in San Francisco. NFL schedule makers saw it fit to pit the two quarterbacks against each other to open up the 2018 regular season.

On Friday, Pro Football Focus broke down the two quarterbacks in their way too early NFL Week 1 spread picks. Here is what Eric Eager and George Chahrouri wrote about Cousins while looking at the matchup between the 49ers and Vikings.

"Kirk Cousins ranked just 29th (of 39) quarterbacks in grade on 'NFL Throws' and 27th (of 41) in grade from a clean pocket. While Cousins ended up as a fourth tier (of six tiers) quarterback last season, the Vikings pass defense was strong, allowing just a 81.4 passer rating from a clean pocket (second)."

Then there was the analysis of Garoppolo, of whom the PFF team made a rather odd comparison while discussing his strengths.

"Jimmy Garoppolo lived up to his divine lineage last season, posting the second-highest grade on 'NFL Throws' and ranking third in ball-location accuracy. Facing such a stiff defense we should expect to remember that a hallmark of Jesus has always been to overcome temptation and avoid the big mistake which should keep this one under 47 (point spread)."

An NFL team is more than just its quarterback. Despite signing Richard Sherman during the offseason, PFF is concerned about the 49ers' pass defense after the team failed to select a top-talent cornerback early in the draft. The San Francisco defense will have to stop a Vikings passing game which features Cousins throwing to receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.