Cousins faced more pressure in 2018 than any NFL quarterback

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

In his first season with the Minnesota Vikings, the talented quarterback dealt with more pressure from opposing defenses than any other passer in the NFL.

When the Minnesota Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a big three-year, fully-guaranteed $84 million contract last offseason, the team’s hope was that the quarterback was the missing piece to them earning a spot in the Super Bowl.

The Vikings figured if Cousins could come in and put up numbers that were a little better than Case Keenum’s in 2017, then making it all the way the Super Bowl last season was something that was very achievable.

Unfortunately for Minnesota and their new quarterback, the team didn’t even end up making the playoffs in 2018 thanks to a variety of factors.

Something that played a large part in the Vikings missing the postseason last year was the performance of their offensive line. The unit was okay in 2017, but they took a big step backward in 2018 and it had a big effect on Minnesota’s disappointing season.

Thanks to the blockers in front of him, Cousins faced more pressure from opposing defenses last year than any other quarterback in the NFL. According to NFL Media’s James Palmer, the 217 quarterback pressures given up by the Vikings’ offensive line last season was the most in the league.

Given that Cousins attempted 606 passes in 2018, he pretty much had a defender in his face once every three pass attempts. Not even the best quarterbacks in the NFL can succeed when dealing with that much pressure, so it’s no surprise that Minnesota struggled on offense last year despite adding a better passer during the offseason.

Knowing how much pressure he was dealing with each week makes Cousins’ numbers from 2018 even more impressive. The Vikings quarterback still managed to throw for 4,298 yards and 30 touchdowns last season despite getting very little help from his offensive line.

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With a new offensive line coach in Rick Dennison and some new additions to the unit (Josh Kline, Garrett Bradbury, Dru Samia), Minnesota should be better at keeping Cousins on his feet in 2019. If this actually does end up happening, then the Vikings’ chances of getting back into the playoffs next season will definitely be higher.