Kirk Cousins continues to draw high praise from the Vikings


The Vikings nearly got to the Super Bowl without Kirk Cousins. With him, they failed to make it to the playoffs.

But the organization still believes in its franchise quarterback, who is under contract to the franchise for two more years.

I’ve never seen a guy work at it as hard as he does,” G.M. Rick Spielman said at his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He was the first one in the building [for offseason workouts]. “He is nonstop all afternoon into that film room. . . . There is no one as professional as Kirk Cousins is in the way he approaches this job.”

That’s great, but in a results-driven business, the results simply weren’t there. And while the inability of the offensive line to give him time to throw and the failure of former offensive coordinator John DeFillippo to complement Cousins’ passing skills with a running game can be blamed for the team’s struggles when it comes to scoring points, Cousins and his $84 million contract make him the obvious and easy target for criticism.

This year, the Vikings believe that their offense will perform more efficiently. Regardless, the challenge will fall to Cousins to make big plays in key moments, especially when performing under bright lights. The Vikings will appear in prime time on five occasions in 2019 (unless they’re flexed out of a Week 16 Sunday night game at the Chargers), and if the Vikings will have a chance to appear in significant games come January, they’ll need to win more of their significant games from September through December.

If they don’t, 2020 could end up being a lame-duck season for a quarterback who supersized contract comes with outsized expectations.

So while it’s good that he’s working hard now, that hard work needs to translate to enough victories to deliver a postseason berth, or the verdict will be that he’s guilty of not living up to the high bar that comes with a $28 million per year deal.

71 responses to “Kirk Cousins continues to draw high praise from the Vikings

  1. Kind of alarming they would be trying to apologize for his performance just before the draft. If I were Kirk I’d be worried.

  2. It’s more common for free agents to take a year to have success with a new team than it is to play at All Pro levels. That said, with better O-line play (i hope), he better play up to his contract this year.

  3. What else are they going to say? That he’s a good QB until it’s on the line and when it is he will fumble?

  4. I saw every game that Kirk Cousins played as a Washington Redskin. Each season he improved, especially when he became the fulltime starter in 2015. His final season here, 2017, was his best, albeit not statistically – he had no receivers, no running game, but his command of his position was better than it was in 2016, which had been better than 2015. He’s not just ‘working hard now’ – he’s always worked hard and his continuous improvement is proof. The Vikings and the Cardinals vied for worst offensive line lasts season, you acknowledge the poor running game, and the defense wasn’t close to the 2017 playoff group. Kirk Cousins is an excellent NFL quarterback who the Vikings can build around and likely have many successful seasons moving forward.

  5. At an elite and important position as starting QB on an NFL team if the best thing a GM can say about you is “that you work hard”. That is not good.

    What the Vikings have is a good QB (not elite) that if the team around him excels he will not screw it up too bad. But he will never carry or be the leader of the team. Can they win the SB with him? They can it the OL improves and the D starts becoming a ball hog like NO and Chic.

  6. What else are they supposed to say?

    “Our guaranteed 84 million dollar quarterback was a giant mistake and we can’t win with him moving forward” ???

  7. The problem is Cousins is pretty much a one trick pony with a nice long ball. When the line in front of him collapses after 2.5 seconds, receivers can’t get downfield! In the pocket he is a statue and he freezes in fear! Remember watching him in the last few games? He was scared out of his mind! He cannot scramble, plus he has no awareness of defenders around him and that is why he lead the league in strip fumbles among QB’s.. I just don’t see this team winning with Rick Speilman not drafting O linemen, having 5 and 6 deep in corners but not having a 1st string lineman at 3 of 5 positions..

  8. Cousins can work as hard as he wants, but he’s toast within an O-line to protect him. Spielman had better come up with some studs on the line or the Vikes will have no offense this year. It’s not the fault of Cousins when the QB has no time to throw.

  9. It will take another year or two for the frustration to reach its peak in MN. Cousins always does the right thing on paper, but come game time he just isn’t a playmaker. And he doesn’t elevate the play of others. Not worth all that cabbage.
    Nice guy. Happy he’s gone.
    Signed, a Skins Fan.

  10. No O line = no QB. Give the guy some help up front then criticize if he doesn’t get it done.

  11. Hard work is no guarantee of success but it is what people fall back on when they can’t point to success or talent.

    Vikings screwed the other 31 teams with that fully guaranteed contract and got further away from a super bowl.

    Classic Vikings.

  12. There is a difference between being the first guy in the building, and performing high on the field. If he doesn’t take a significant step forward this season, then heads need to roll soon after.

  13. What else can the Vikings say about this guy? Do you realize how many jobs will be lost if he leads them to another 8-8* season? Zimmer is a goner, along with everybody he brought along. This is the transition point; from guarantee to wishing, hoping, and praying.

    (* the tie against the Packers was an undeserved gimme.)

  14. It’s easy to say that Cousins needed more time than the line gave him. I agree completely. But his fumbles were a result of absolutely no pocket presence at all. He can’t feel the rush, he doesn’t have an internal clock telling him to dump the ball, and that’s what caused all the fumbles. Maybe giving him more time will help this, but I am skeptical of this huge flaw in his game. For the record not every Vikings fan was excited by the Cousins trade. Many of us were against it. I think he’ll do a good job for us this year if we improve the line, but he’s not going to take us to the Super Bowl nor take anyone else. We needed someone with Keenum’s escapability last year and maybe this one.

  15. Cousin Cousins will lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl, you can take that to the bank.

  16. If I remember correctly, a previous Viking QB (T. Jackson) was praised for his “command of the huddle”.

    Add that to working hard and you are about 3% on your way to a franchise QB, which both Jackson and Cousins will never be confused as.

    I said it a year ago and the 2018 season just proved it, Cousins is the perfect Viking Qb. A franchise that doesn’t do well under the brighest light combined with a QB who fails to show up when it counts most is a qB marriage made in choke heaven.

  17. As a Redskins fan I remember a lot of people telling me that once the Cousins got to the Vikings, with their superior offensive line and running game, that Kirk would romp through the playoffs. A year later, apparently the offensive line and the running game were apparently not that good. If Cousins excels at one thing, its having people look elsewhere for blame.

    Cousins is a very hard worker, and he can make a lot of very pretty passes. He’s also not very good at selling play action, has no feel for blind side pressure(leading to a lot of fumbles), is reluctant to use his legs (which is a pity because he is surprisingly mobile) and he can be a bit fragile mentally. When things go wrong he can get down on himself and then starts forcing throws.

    For all those yards he gets through the air, he’ll have a negative impact on the run game because he’s too easy to read. The benefit of all the sacks he avoids through his quick release will always be set against the fumbles he gives up when the blind side rush gets time to develop. For every 400-yard game where he demolishes a weak opponent, he’ll self destruct in another more critical match-up.

    He’s been a starter for a while now and he’s always been a hard worker but his problems have been pretty consistent since day 1. I really can’t see him developing much more as a player. It’s up to the coaches to work out how to hide his weaknesses more effectively.

  18. Spielman is just covering for himself. Again. Our only hope is to get Cousin’s to restructure like the good QBs are, and have some extra cap money to fill out holes after the draft.I hope Kubiak has some say and we get some help on offense.

  19. igocommando says:
    April 23, 2019 at 11:39 pm
    It’s more common for free agents to take a year to have success with a new team than it is to play at All Pro levels. That said, with better O-line play (i hope), he better play up to his contract this year.


    Not sure where you got this stat from but what’s actually common is if a team brings in a free agent QB and that QB doesn’t do well that first season his second season he’s helping to break in his replacement.

  20. Cousins is a solid if unspectacular NFL QB. While I think he plays better this year than last just based on experience in the system and familiarity with his weapons it is not like he has this ‘next big step’ in his play like say, a talented rookie QB taking his game to the next level.

    Cousins is what he is at this point. Good news for the Vikings, he’s good enough to help them win a SB IF all the other pieces are in place.

  21. The Vikings and most everyone else in the NFL thought the Vikings were taking a step forward by signing Kirk Cousins. But most non-Vikings fans don’t know the inevitability of this organization making the wrong decision and setting the franchise back years. This team finds new ways every year to disappoint their fan base….58 years and counting. Then, as a Vikings fan you see the complete and utter dominance of the NFL by the Patriots and reasonable people legitimately lose faith that this team will ever be anything more than a punchline for their rivals jokes.

  22. Kirk Cousins showed everyone that he can’t handle pressure during that final regular season Bears game. Cousins ain’t a leader. He’s a politician.

  23. I thought cousins played well last year all things considered. When is the last time a Viking QB threw 30 TD’s? Culpepper?

  24. All the prep and hardwork is meaningless when it comes time to play the game.
    Dandy Don Meredith had a great line that I reverse and sing for Cousins….

    “Turn ON the lights, the party is ooverrr…..”

    The guy can’t play in a must win, or in prime time.

  25. It’s amazing how one season in a new situation is enough to make a judgement. My crystal ball is broken at the moment so maybe all the critics are right, but there’s just as much chance they are wrong. Cousins has flaws, as does virtually every NFL QB so lets just see how this plays out. As a Vikings fan I’ve been on record for a long time saying I would have preferred rolling the dice on Teddy Bridgewater, but that could have easily blown up in my face as well.

  26. Right now there are 31 other GM’s who are talking about how hard working their QB’s are, and how they are the first ones in the building. That’s the expectation of a starting QB in the league. The other expectation is winning important games. Still waiting on Cousins there.

  27. Cousins is a decent QB, and you don’t necessarily pull the plug after one season. If you have the chance to draft a better QB, any smart team is going to do that. Right now Cousins is the best QB on the Vikings. We’ll see if that changes in the next 3 days. I believe there are good QBs in this draft that will be drafted on the Friday and Saturday. Those are the days guys like Spielman earn their money. Either way, it will probably take a year to unseat Cousins.

  28. I was at the last game of the year against the Bears and wanted to throw my Cousin’s Jersey in a dumpster and set it on fire after that game. However, on further reflection, I’m ready to put it back on for next year. He has the talent to be a top 10 qb in this league with the right scheme and protection. The team lost that game, and many more not just because of him. They will win 11 games next year, make the playoffs and then will have to see what happens next.

  29. kneedragr says:
    April 24, 2019 at 7:48 am
    Kirk is a good QB but they paid him like a great one. He needs to take them deep into the playoffs to show he was worth it.


    Playoffs? Cousins can’t even win a game against a team with a winning record

  30. A 3-to-1 TD/INT ratio, 4000+ yards, 70+% completion rate. I’m having a hard time agreeing with the notion that the Vikings aren’t getting their money’s worth.

  31. packers291 says:
    April 24, 2019 at 10:03 am
    A 3-to-1 TD/INT ratio, 4000+ yards, 70+% completion rate. I’m having a hard time agreeing with the notion that the Vikings aren’t getting their money’s worth.


    What was their record against teams with winning records?

  32. I’m a Redskins fan. Kirk has always had a great work ethic. He’s a good guy and by all accounts a great teammate. His issue is that can’t seem to win a big game.

  33. Spielman is setting up to put the blame on Zimmer. Unfortunately, if Spielman is still around after the 2020 season he will extend Cousins, he wnet all in and put all his chips on the table with that epic contract (Dak and others really thank him for the high dollar contract for a mediocre QB and helping out the tag price) and I doubt he is willing to say it was a mistake. Zimmer will be canned and O-minded coach is hired (other Gurden?) saying he can work with Cousins, Cousins gets an extension.

  34. What else are the Vikings going to say about Cousin Kirk after they paid him all that money? But the truth is, he is not much better than Case Keenum was.

  35. The problem was not Kirk last year. The problem was the defense was nowhere near as good as it was the year prior. The run game was mediocre as well, but that’s been the case since Peterson left. This team is built on that defense, and the defense regressed last year. Had Case Keenum been here last season, it would have been abysmal. QBs get paid big because they are the most important member of the team, but you still need the team to perform around them. Rodgers is a HOFer, but his team blows and his coach phoned it in, and where did the Packers finish? Nobody questions his contract. Kirk will be fine, the team overall needs to rebound, that O line needs surgery and the D needs to play like they did the previous year.

  36. I’ve never seen a guy throw for 4300 yards and 30 TD’s and 10 Int.’s behind a brutal offensive line and take such a beating. One of the big reasons he didn’t win a big game last year was the defense gave up plays and his O line crumbled.

  37. scoops1 says:
    April 24, 2019 at 8:48 am

    When was the last time the Vikings actually drafted a QB and let him fully develop in their system?

    That would be Culpepper until his knees were blown out in Carolina.

  38. Because they’re the Vikings. And because they grossly overpaid a mediocre QB in the elite range. He has never been an elite QB and he will never be. I would be pumping up the PR too.


  39. tqaztec says:
    April 24, 2019 at 11:26 am
    scoops1 says:
    April 24, 2019 at 8:48 am

    When was the last time the Vikings actually drafted a QB and let him fully develop in their system?

    That would be Culpepper until his knees were blown out in Carolina.

    And it would have been Bridgewater until his knee was blown out in Eden Prairie. There is a bit of bad luck that has plagued the Vikings and they’re doing their best to fill the position given what they have to work with. Signing Cousins made sense last year. Sometimes a good decision doesn’t work out. Maybe it still will. I know that replacing DeFillipo with Stefanski and Kubiak is a huge step up.

  40. You look at the STATS and you think you’ve got a pro-bowl QB Look at the RESULTS over the last 4 years 9-7, 8-7-1, 7-9, 8-7-1. Something is missing.

  41. I wish Captain Kirk was still a Redskin. He’s not a perfect QB, but he’s damn good. Vikings fans should count their blessings. It can be a LOT worse. Trust me, we Redskins fans know. 🙁

  42. Kirk Cousins 2018: 99.7 passer rating. 70.1% completion rate. 30 TDs , 10 INTs. 4298 passing yards. 29th ranked offensive line.

    Tom Brady 2018: 97.6 passer rating. 64% completion rate. 29 TDs 11 INTs. 4355 passing yards. 4th ranked offensive line.

    Can’t blame Cousins’ performance for Vikings not winning the Super Bowl.

  43. aypeeswhippingstick says:
    April 24, 2019 at 10:40 am
    Like the late, great Viking coach Bud Grant used to say, “You can’t throw it if you can’t hold onto it.”


    Like the late great packer quarterback Bart Starr used to say “don’t be the problem”

  44. All these people ripping on Cousins likely all agree they should have kept Keenum for 8 million less…I’m sure were can all agree Keenum outperformed Cousins last year… oh wait.

    Btw – Cousins is one of the best at play action if he has a coordinator that will run the ball more than 12 times per game.

  45. One of the posters here made a very good point, the defense did not perform anywhere’s near as well as it did the year before. However the team generated no where’s near as many first downs, and the defense was on the field much more than in the past. They’re going to wear down like that. Yes to defense performed worse. But they don’t work in a vacuum. They often gave the offense great field position which They squandered almost without fail. I have a hard time blaming last year’s collapse on the defense. It’s a lot more complicated than that

  46. They have to keep a stiff upper lip! They are stuck with that guaranteed contract with no way to get out from under it.

  47. Cousins had more TDs and a better QBR than Rodgers. He had about 140 yds less than Rodgers. Just imagine if the Vikings offensive line could hold for Cousins like the Packers line CAN hold for Rodgers.

  48. ragnarthegreat says:
    April 24, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    One of the posters here made a very good point, the defense did not perform anywhere’s near as well as it did the year before.//////////

    And Kirk has a part in that too. The Vikings defense was on the field more often than they were the previous with Case Keenum’s Vikings offense.

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