PPT: Will Kirk Cousins Lead Minnesota to a Playoff Spot?

Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell looks on during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins. The QB1 never fails to inspire discourse, debate, and disagreement. Perhaps the most important question Minnesota is facing this season rests in how their starting QB will play. If he can elevate, Minnesota has a roster that’s talented enough to compete.

As we all know, Cousins receives a fair bit of criticism for failing to attain team success since joining the Vikings. Reasonable minds disagree about how much blame he deserves, but there’s no debate that being a well-paid QB1 means he deserves at least some scrutiny.

Piling up strong statistics has never been an issue for Cousins. Last season, he had 33 TDs and a mere 7 INTs. By the end of the year, he was the 6th-best quarterback in the PFF rankings. It’s notable, though, that PFF goes on to avoid putting Cousins in their “Golden Oldies” tier or even the “Polarizing Players” tier. Instead, he gets placed in the “Play-Action Merchants” tier alongside Ryan Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jared Goff. The suggestion is that their rankings don’t give us a true sense of how good Cousins actually is.

In the end, all that will really matter to Vikings fans is seeing the team win games. A lot of games. No one will be concerned about PFF grades or interceptions if Kirk Cousins is primarily responsible for getting the Vikings to a 12-5 record and a division title. Partnering an impressive regular season with a deep playoff run would certainly undermine a lot of the criticism he receives.

Kevin O’Connell is the man in charge of constructing an offense that will maximize Kirk Cousins’ skills. Hopefully, the 2022 season is the beginning of a tremendous partnership between QB and coach.

Editor’s Note: This series considers a variety of questions that Minnesota will be looking to answer during training camp and the preseason. The point is simply to provide concise discussions of pertinent purple topics. We’ll do one per day leading up to training camp, which begins on July 24th.