Kirk Cousins has been severely underwhelming through a quarter of the season for the Minnesota Vikings, but is it his fault? The Vikings have dedicated the offense to the run game and Kirk may be collateral damage. After posting an impressive stat liken like last season of thirty touchdowns to just ten interceptions, Cousins has regularly struggled with rhythm and accuracy this season. So, who is to blame?
Kirk Cousins( Himself):
Kirk Cousins has never been a bona fide top 10 quarterback, but he has been extremely serviceable in years past. He has posted a Quarterback Rating of at least 93 since 2015. In Washington he was able to enjoy time in the pockets thanks to an all pro offensive line. He lacked wide receivers, a running back, and a defense, but was able to make the most of a poor situation to at least keep the Redskins competitive. Cousins has always been a high volume qb with at least 540 attempts every year as a starter. A quarter through this season Kirk is on pace for approximately 396 attempts 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Along with his continuing fumbling problem he is looking at the worst start to his career as a starter. He looks uncomfortable in the new system and lacks the chemistry and trust he had in his star wide receivers.
It seems the Vikings spent the entirety of the offense telling Cousins what not to do. They have tried to limit bad Kirk Cousins so much that they have may have suppressed good Kirk Cousins. He has never been a game manger, he has always been a down the field passer, and a rhythm thrower. Neither of which seems to be selling points of this new look offense. The Vikings new commitment to the run has no doubt affected the play of Cousins, Diggs, and Thielen. Stefanski and Kubiak will need to re-examine their offensive game plans so that the team can be competitive against tough talented defenses. The Vikings run the risk of becoming one dimensional because of the commitment to the run game, and have lacked creativity in the offense through the first four games of the season
The Vikings offensive line got manhandled in Chicago, but it was expected. The run blocking was poor, and the pass blocking was even worse. Despite this game the Vikings have been dominate in the run game the three games prior. The Zone running scheme has been implemented well, but it has done nothing to improve the pass blocking. In week two the Vikings rushed for over 170, but were still giving up consistent pressure every time Kirk dropped back to throw. The offensive coaches will do their best to coach up the line, but if this kinda pressure continues Kirk will continue to have a hard to settling into this new offense.
Zimmer lamented several times he has the tiniest bit of confidence in his quarterback. He has repeated the phrase “run the ball” at least a thousand times since the firing of former coordinator John D Fillipo. The lack of confidence has shown on the field as Kirk takes far less chances, and isn’t playing like himself. Could it be because his head coach is getting into his head? Whatever the issue may be Zimmer has to help Cousins get his swagger back. Since losing to the Seahawks week 14 of last season, the Vikings have played four top ten defenses and have only won once. Zimmers “old school” offense has proven it can not compete with the top defense of the NFL.