Welcome to the second installment of our five-post series of questions with the folks from Football Outsiders about the 2022 Minnesota Vikings in celebration of the release of this year’s version of the Football Outsiders Almanac (available in both digital and print versions).
Our questions for this year went to Derrik Klassen, who you can find on the Twitter machine @QBKlass. He wrote the chapter on the Vikings for this year’s Almanac, so he took the time to answer the five queries I posed for this year’s squad. Today’s question has to do with everyone’s favorite topic regarding the purple and gold. . .quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The Kirk Cousins debate is going to continue for a long time, perhaps forever. Where do you rank Kirk Cousins among NFL quarterbacks and why?
I ranked Cousins 15th earlier this offseason. I think he general maintains down-to-down consistency, throws with good to great accuracy, and has made some improvements with regards to handling pressure. I just find that Cousins sort of needs a particular offensive structure and isn’t a particularly aggressive passer. Mix that with him not being a natural playmaker, and you just end up with a quarterback who is more or less as good as his play-caller and skill players are. Every passer is tied to those things to a degree, but I struggle to find where Cousins elevates, he just keeps things level.
We talked about this yesterday when we talked about the remarks that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made late last week. Cousins is a quarterback that will be right on the edge of the top ten signal callers in the NFL week in and week out. Sure, he’ll throw in the occasional clunker, but for the most part he’s pretty solid from week to week. I think putting him as far down as 15th is a little harsh, but that might be my bias coming through.
On the bright side, if Cousins is only as good as his play callers and his skill players are. . .well, perhaps we should upgrade our level of expectation for 2022. After all, he has one of the best groups of playmakers in the National Football League and a coaching staff that seems poised to introduce a more wide-open philosophy than Cousins has been a part of since he’s been in Minnesota.
I don’t know if Kevin O’Connell is going to “unlock” Kirk Cousins in 2022 or not. Frankly, you don’t know, either. If he can, then I think the Kirk Cousins discussion is going to be framed much differently in 2023 and beyond than it has been during his time with the Vikings.
It’s a Kirk Cousins post, so. . .have at it, everyone!