Check out our stuff on Bleacher Report!

Throughout the first half of the season, there was an uproar of angry fans calling for Kirk Cousins’ job. For the most part, they were justified in that frustration. Cousins threw 10 INTs through the first six games of the season en route to Minnesota’s abysmal 1-5 record. Discussions regarding the Vikings tank towards either Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, or Zach Wilson abounded going into the bye. 

Cousins responded with not only one of the best second halves of this NFL season, but with the greatest eight-game stretch of any Vikings quarterback ever. He capped it off on Sunday with 405 yards, four total touchdowns, and a griddy in the victory over Detroit. 

Look, you can blame this underwhelming 2020 season on a lot of things. You can blame it on injuries, subpar defense, offensive line, playcalling, just about anything. You cannot blame it on Kirk Cousins. 

To prove this, I compared Cousins’ weeks 10-17 with eight game stretches of three other great Vikings quarterbacks: Brett Favre, Daunte Culpepper, and Randall Cunningham. I know, I left out Fran Tarkenton, but it felt wrong to put him in this discussion given how much the NFL game has changed since his playing days. I also tried to find statistical stretches where these quarterbacks were at their very best.

For Favre, I used weeks 3-11 of the 2009 season since he passed for 110 and 155 yards in weeks one and two. Culpepper’s stretch was weeks 1-9 of the 2004 season (Minnesota’s bye was week four). Cunningham’s stretch was weeks 9-17, excluding week 10 since he threw just two passes in that game. See? I tried to be fair to the legends when comparing them to the mighty Kirk. Here’s how things stack up.

Passing Yards

Cousins-2410

Culpepper-2347

Cunningham-2277

Favre-2217

Passing Touchdowns

Culpepper-21

Cousins-20

Cunningham-20

Favre-18

Interceptions

Cousins-3

Favre-3

Culpepper-5

Cunningham-7

Completon %

Cousins-69.1%

Favre-68.3%

Culpepper-65.9%

Cunningham-62.4%

Wins

Cunningham-7

Favre-7

Culpepper-5

Cousins-4

As you can see, Cousins is the only quarterback in the top-two of every category…except wins. He only had four victories, which many will hold against him. Well, of the eight games, four of them were against teams that have made the playoffs: Chicago (twice), New Orleans, and Tampa Bay. All three of these teams have defenses and offensive lines that are far superior to Minnesota’s. On the other hand, game everyone will point to as the bad loss came against Dallas. 

I’m sorry, but you just can’t blame that game on Cousins. He went 22/30 for 315 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. This was not only an acceptable game; it was an incredible game, all things considered. 

There were 480 team results through week 16. Of them, a total of 17 had a quarterback throwing 30 or more times for 310 yards, completing at least 70% of their passes, throwing three touchdowns, and having zero interceptions. Teams were 14-3 when this happened. Oh, and two of them were also given up by the Vikings’ defense. Aaron Rodgers accomplished the feat in week one, and Matt Ryan did so in week six.

Cousins obviously had one of the losses, but where did the other two come from? Well, they both were the result of Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson; the player who has been heralded (rightly so, by the way) as not having enough help. If Watson gets that as an out, then why is it unacceptable for Cousins?

Get 20% off and free shipping with code 3Deep
2 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chip Drewry
Chip Drewry
14 days ago

This number crunching stuff doesn’t mean all that much. Let’s look at this.
Passing Yards: 1,466
Passing TD’s: 17
Interceptions: 6
Completion Percent: 52.6
Wins: 8
That was Joe Kapp, 1969. He also delivered an NFL Championship and Super Bowl appearance. Still waiting for Cousins to deliver.

Siorc
Siorc
Reply to  Chip Drewry
13 days ago

Joe Kapp is one of my all time favorite Vikings, but be fair: the Vikings rode their defense (original Purple-People eaters) that season. Kapp was also replaced be Cuozzo in two or three of those games.

Gerald Lehn Hunt
Gerald Lehn Hunt
Reply to  Chip Drewry
13 days ago

The vikings defense got them everywhere they went that year. Ill bet you can name every starting except maybe one defensive lineman that year. Ill bet you can’t name one of the starters from this year.

IronWolf
IronWolf
13 days ago

There is still that “10 interceptions in the first 6 games” and 1-5 start that doomed their playoff hopes, and don’t forget his salary cap hit is one of the reasons they had to let so many players walk. He is no Brady, he is no Rodgers but his salary certainly is.

Gerald Lehn Hunt
Gerald Lehn Hunt
Reply to  IronWolf
13 days ago

IronWolf – his salary is his fault?

Gerald Lehn Hunt
Gerald Lehn Hunt
Reply to  IronWolf
13 days ago

tons of rookie mistakes on defense. An offensive line that was completely hopeless. Go back and watch those five games.

Greg
Greg
Reply to  Gerald Lehn Hunt
13 days ago

The games weren’t worth watching the first time around. And why would anyone want to relive kirk crumbles when there’s actual real (playoff) games going on?

MilesC
MilesC
13 days ago

I’d say that cousins has proved his value, finally. He’s come into his own now at age-32. Sadly, it’s almost time to draft his replacement already. But the guy has a crazy good work ethic and is probably going to be in consideration for MVP next year. Consider this, cousins finally started doing a lot of things people ( including myself ) said he couldn’t do starting middle of last season. Stopped fumbling, started making plays when the protection broke down, and started playing clutch. I don’t know that there’s anyone I want at the helm of my team other than Pat Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers, other than Kirk Cousins. When the defense comes back from IR next season, he’s going to have a lot more opportunities to start on a shorter field. I suspect he might throw for 45-50 touchdowns as long as Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe continue to develop. So stop banging Kirk you guys, the mans playing pretty good. They won a shootout yesterday basically with having a paper machete defense on the field.

Greg
Greg
Reply to  MilesC
13 days ago

There’s no purple kool-aid left to drink for anyone else after you greedily gulped it all down yourself. Bisi & Johnson developing, you really outdid yourself there. Don’t place any wagers anytime soon would be my advice.

Greg
Greg
13 days ago

How many wins again in this greatest most epic eight game stretch again? Four?

Kyle
Kyle
4 days ago

Who cares, it’s not like our franchise is even top 10. Never won a super bowl and haven’t been to one in 43 years so not saying much. Minnesota sports just love being mediocre and I don’t think it will ever change.

trackback
4 days ago

[…] Kirk Cousins Just Played the Greatest Eight-Game Stretch in Vikings History […]