5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints – Week 4
By Chris Schad
Cousins will be pressured on less than 30 percent of his dropbacks
On Saturday, Vikings fans will enter a magical time of the year. It’s not that time when your significant other shoves you into the car to go look at the leaves changing colors. (Well, maybe it is.) It’s time for a little holiday known as Kirktober.
October is the month where Kirk Cousins becomes a dark horse MVP candidate and earns the money that can only be shelled out in fully-guaranteed contracts. No month has produced more wins for Cousins than October, and his 98.3 passer rating ranks second to November (109.8), but if Kirktober is going to happen, the Vikings need to keep Cousins clean in the pocket.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Cousins has been pressured on 35.2 percent of his dropbacks – the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. When Cousins is under pressure, he’s posted a 61.8 passer rating, which ranks 22nd among qualifying quarterbacks. While Cousins’s PFF grade under pressure ranks 10th in that group, the Vikings would like things to be a little easier for him.
The Saints should be able to make that happen. According to ESPN’s pass-rush win rate, New Orleans ranks dead last at 19 percent. The next closest team is the New England Patriots, who have a 30 percent win rate.
The Vikings still have some holes in their offensive line but stopping the Saints is the best way for Cousins to get into a fall tradition as heralded as a pumpkin spice latte.