Minnesota Vikings: Bleacher Report predicts better 2020 from Kirk Cousins

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins should have a slightly better stat sheet in 2020, according to the latest Bleacher Report predictions.

All told, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was pretty good in 2020. And while some may have criticized the two-year extension he received last March, given the current direction of quarterback contracts, that deal will likely end up looking like a bargain in the very near future.

Cousins’ 2019 Pro Bowl efforts generated a 69.1 completion percentage, third best in his eight-year career, 3,603 passing yards with 26 touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 107.4.

For all those who have criticized Cousins, he was a major reason why the Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs a season ago.

So, what should fans expect from Cousins in 2020?

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report just put together a prediction piece for every starting quarterback heading into the upcoming season, and he suggests Cousins will actually improve slightly on last year’s numbers:

"The Minnesota Vikings lost offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who accepted the Cleveland Browns’ head-coaching job. Yet schematically, not much will change in how this team attacks defenses.Gary Kubiak will transition from an advisor role to play-caller in the upcoming season, so expect the Vikings to keep their zone-run system and feature running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison.Kirk Cousins only expects minor tweaks to the offense. …We’ll probably see more of the same from this offense and similar passing numbers for Cousins."

As far as the predictions go, Moton has Cousins completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,729 total yards, 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions and with 103 rushing yards on 37 carries.

Nice to mix in the ground yardage there, too, right?

Notable changes for the Minnesota Vikings

Moton pointed out how the change between Stefanski and Kubiak will have some effects. But the speculation is it’ll be a relatively seamless transition.

Kubiak’s zone-style offense is balanced based, and one should only expect some modest tweaks and alterations to the system. Perhaps some terminology and variance in plays, nothing more.

Yet there’s the proverbial “elephant in the room” with regards to Cousins’ projections this season: losing wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who got himself traded to the Buffalo Bills during the offseason.

There’s no understating Diggs’ importance to Minnesota’s offense. After all, casually finding someone to replicate the team-leading 1,130 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions on the fly isn’t easy to do. The Vikings hope veteran wideout Adam Thielen can return to his 2017 and 2018 ways after an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. But there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Minnesota’s top pick from this year’s NFL Draft, former LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

It’s always a risky proposition to expect too much from a first-year wide receiver, even one with as much excitement as Jefferson generates. It’ll take time for Jefferson to acclimate and develop a rapport with Cousins.

Overall, however, Moton’s predictions for Cousins this upcoming season seem fair. It’s likely the offense will still revolve around Cook, and there’s little reason to suspect otherwise barring injury.

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And if those numbers were enough to get the Vikings into the playoffs a year ago, there’s a good chance we’re looking at similar results in 2020, too.