The Minnesota Vikings quarterback is on pace to set numerous passing records for the franchise and yet still not fulfilling the expectations of some fans.
From 2011 to 2017, Teddy Bridgewater was the only Minnesota Vikings quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards in a game more than twice in a season. Bridgewater passed for over 300 yards three times in 2014.
Through 11 games this year, Kirk Cousins already has five different games with over 300 passing yards for the Vikings. Another outing like this and Cousins will tie Minnesota’s all-time record for most 300-yard games in a single season with Brett Favre in 2009 and Daunte Culpepper in 2004.
In addition to that record, the Vikings’ current quarterback is also on pace to break the franchise record for total passing yards in a single season. His current completion percentage of 71.4 is also not far off from the single-season Minnesota record currently held by Sam Bradford when he completed 71.6 percent of his passes in 2016.
Cousins is also on track to become just the fifth Minnesota signal-caller in team history to start at least 13 games in a year and finish with an interception percentage below two. Three of the four guys to previously do this for the Vikings (Case Keenum in 2017, Brett Favre in 2009, Fran Tarkenton in 1976) all led the team to the NFC Championship or farther during these specific seasons.
With Cousins under center this year, Minnesota also has a top 10 passing offense for the first time since 2009. The Vikings literally have not had quarterback this talented playing for them in almost a decade.
Despite all of the success Cousins has been having this season though, it still doesn’t seem to be enough for some of those who root for Minnesota each week.
These people look at last season and the Vikings’ run to the NFC Championship and expected the team to pick up right where they left off with their new quarterback this year.
Not taken into account by these fans has been Minnesota losing the best offensive coordinator they’ve had in a long time in Pat Shurmur, the Vikings having a harder schedule this season, and the team’s offensive line playing significantly worse.
Minnesota has not been running the ball in 2018 as much as they were last season too. So Cousins has had to put the offense on his shoulders way more than Keenum did last year.
In games where their current quarterback has attempted 40 or more passes, the Vikings are 1-4-1 this season. During the matchups in which Cousins has attempted less than 40 passes this year, Minnesota is 5-0.
Keenum had just three games last season with more than 40 pass attempts (including the playoffs) and the Vikings only came out victorious in one of them. During the matchups when he threw less than 40 passes, Minnesota had an 11-2 record
So in reality, when Cousins has been given a similar workload to what Keenum basically had every week last year, the Vikings’ current quarterback has been just as successful.
Like most signal-callers around the NFL, Cousins is at his best when his offense is running a balanced game-plan. Minnesota’s offense has been quite unbalanced for the majority of the season and that falls on the shoulders of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
So the next time someone hears a Vikings fan complaining about Cousins missing a throw or tossing a costly pick, that person should be asked why the blame doesn’t fall more on DeFilippo’s shoulders for asking his quarterback to carry the entire offense on his back.