Since we’re into the offseason and most of the big free agent moves have been taken care of, there are sites all over the internet that have been doing projections of what we could possibly expect from new players in their new homes.
Over at NFL.com, former NFL quarterback David Carr has some opinions on how new quarterbacks will do in their new homes, and that includes new Minnesota Vikings’ signal caller Kirk Cousins. Carr is projecting even more success for Cousins in Minnesota than he had in Washington.
Cousins is the first quarterback in NFL history to change teams after recording 4,000-plus passing yards in each of the previous three seasons. He established himself as better than average while playing in a pro-style offense that didn’t cater to his strengths. Given that and the dwindling relationship between Cousins and Jay Gruden, the QB’s final year in Washington was pretty painful to watch. Now, Cousins joins an offense with much more talent and a new coordinator in John DeFilippo who ran a cutting-edge offense in Philly.
Cousins can do everything the elite quarterbacks do, and with a supporting cast of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (the NFL’s top receiving duo in 2017), TE Kyle Rudolph and a healthy Dalvin Cook in the backfield, this should be his best season to date. The Vikings provide a perfect situation for Cousins -- he should take them back to the NFC title game ... and maybe beyond.
2018 prediction: 68 completion percentage, 4,200 passing yards, 30 TD, 10 INT.
The bottom line, with Carr’s statistical projections for Cousins, are particularly impressive. How impressive? Well, here’s the full list of quarterbacks in Vikings’ history that have thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in a season while completing 68% of their passes:
- Daunte Culpepper, 2004 (69.2%, 4,717 yards, 39 TD)
- Brett Favre, 2009 (68.4%, 4,202 yards, 33 TD)
That’s it. That’s the list.
Now, the 2004 Vikings’ defense was not good, as they were 26th in the NFL in points allowed. . .which is why Culpepper threw 39 touchdown passes that year and had to drag that team kicking and screaming to an 8-8 record. The defense supporting Favre in 2009 was significantly better, allowing 19.5 points/game, good for 10th in the NFL that year.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the 2018 Vikings’ defense should be markedly better than either of those defenses. After all, they were #1 in the NFL in points and yardage allowed in 2017, and have 10 of their 11 starters coming back. . .and the one that isn’t coming back was replaced by Sheldon Richardson, which should be an upgrade.
I also don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if Cousins puts up the sorts of numbers that Carr is projecting him for, the Minnesota Vikings will be representing the NFC in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. It would be a historically great season in Vikings’ history, and the Vikings probably don’t even need a historically great season from Cousins to be considered among the favorites for that position.
Cousins has already decided to get a jump on preparations for the 2018 season, and if he can put together any sort of chemistry with his receivers, I don’t think Carr’s projections for Cousins are out of reach. If that happens, there’s really nothing else that’s out of reach for this team either.