Minnesota Vikings 2019 in Review: Grading the offense

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins

Quarterbacks

When it comes to the quarterback position, we’re obviously going to discuss the season that Cousins had. Like the rest of the offense, the 31-year old had some good and bad moments for the Vikings in 2019 and even checked off a couple of boxes on a list of things that have held his perception back during his career.

For the season, Cousins threw for 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, but only mustered 3,603 yards through the air. This was part of the design of the offense, however, which saw Cousins attempt his fewest number of passes (444) since becoming a full-time starter in Washington in 2015.

The biggest reason for Cousins’ success was the ability to utilize a play-action game that was revitalized in large part with the ability of Dalvin Cook on the ground. Cousins threw 14 of his 26 touchdowns on play-action plays and threw just two interceptions, generating a 129.2 QB rating on those passes. It shouldn’t come as a shock that outgoing offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski played to this strength, having 31.4 percent of Cousins’ attempts come via play-action.

The bad part about Cousins’ season was the inability to extend plays to generate explosive gains downfield. While Cousins did generate 8.1 yards per attempt (tying his career-high as a starter in his 2016 Pro Bowl season), it felt like there was meat on the bone and a willingness to dump it off to Ameer Abdullah or C.J. Ham to avoid a mistake.

Cousins was good in 2019, but not great, which should lead to at least a stopgap extension in the offseason. The Vikings would be wise to at least keep an eye on the incoming quarterback class, but they don’t like competition in their quarterback room either (which sent Kyle Sloter packing in August) which could mean another year of Sean Mannion could be in store.

Kirk Cousins Grade: B

Sean Mannion Grade: A+ in practice

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