In 2019, Kirk Cousins made the second Pro Bowl appearance in his nine-year career after he led the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs and a surprising upset win over the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card game. After the season, many thought big things were on the horizon for 2020 in Minnesota.
Six weeks into the season and the Vikings are experiencing big things, as in big problems. Cousins is a major contributor to the disastrous start as he’s already thrown more interceptions in six games than he did all of last season. Following an embarrassing loss at home to the previously winless Falcons, which confirmed the Vikings are in the running for the No. 1 draft pick, likely Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the veteran quarterback threw himself under the bus in the post-game press conference.
Kirk Cousins leads Washington to playoffs
The Washington Football Team selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. After three seasons, where he started just nine times, Cousins took over the reins of the team in 2015. That first season, he was impressive.
Cousins threw for 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. More importantly, Washington finished with a 9-7 record, won the NFC East, before losing in the Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers.
Kirk Cousins stayed two more seasons in Washington but could not take his team back to the playoffs either season. In March 2018, Cousins signed a three-year $84 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings, which at the time was the highest contract in NFL history.
Kirk Cousins delivers mixed results Minnesota
In the 2018 season, Kirk Cousins had statistically one of the best years of his career, throwing for 4,298 yards with 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Despite his numbers, the Minnesota Vikings failed to reach the playoffs.
In year two of the Kirk Cousins experiment, the veteran quarterback posted another solid set of numbers, including 3,603 yards with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, the lowest total for any full season of his career.
The Vikings offense finished as the eighth highest-scoring unit in the NFL, and the team finished in second in the NFC North, making the playoffs as a wild card. In the first-round playoff contest on the road against the New Orleans Saints, Kirk Cousins led the Vikings to a 26-20 overtime win.
The following week the Vikings traveled to San Francisco and were overmatched from the first snap. Cousins was under duress the entire game and sacked six times. The offense managed to get just six first downs and gained 147 total yards in an embarrassing 27-10 defeat.
Cousins leads NFL in interceptions
Despite making it to the Divisional Round in last year’s playoffs, there was some uncertainty about the offense coming into the 2020 season with the loss of top receiver Stefon Diggs in the offseason. Diggs’ absence has been evident in the first six games, but Kirk Cousins has certainly not helped his cause throwing an NFL-worst 10 interceptions.
In Sunday’s loss against an 0-5 Falcons squad that had fired head coach Dan Quinn a week earlier, Cousins revealed that the Vikings are definitely in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes throwing an interception on the first play of the game. To make matters worse, it was his first of three picks in the first half. Following the game, Cousins offered an honest assessment of his performance.
“The first interception I thought was the worst one, if you will,” Cousins said in the post-game press conference. “First play of the game. Coverage was not confusing. It was just a zone drop. I simply forced the football into coverage. Tried to do too much. That’s a mistake I may have made in year one but I was very disappointed that I would do that now.”
Kirk Cousins’ performance all season has looked like that of a rookie, making one poor throw after another. He’s currently on pace to throw 25 interceptions for the season. When asked if he thought he should have been pulled or whether his job might be in jeopardy in the future, he said it should be if he continues to play the way he has.
“You just have to play well in this business. The reality is if the pace that I’m on in terms of interceptions, if that were to continue, I won’t finish the season.”
In all honesty, with the way the team is playing, he may not start next season. The Trevor Lawrence watch has officially started in Minnesota.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.