Instead of frowning and sitting in a corner arms-crossed, Kirk Cousins took critics from his wide receivers and made the most out of them. Actually, he couldn’t have done more. We all know what Minnesota’s offense is about at this point. The Vikings have thrown the ball less than any other team with five games played, yet have rushed it the fourth-most times. They are the only team other than the 49ers (43 percent) to pass in less than 50 percent of plays, currently with a 47/53 split. So when Kirk Cousins goes to the pocket you can expect a lot from him just based on pure scheme. That is why Cousins ranks dead last among five-game starters this season in attempts, completions, and passing yards. But don’t get fooled by the raw numbers, as Cousins is still performing above average in terms of efficiency.
As you have seen, not accounting for the volume of opportunities Cousins has been given at the helm of a run-heavy offense paints a bad picture of him. The truth is, Cousins has played quite well in the snaps he’s had to mail passes away. He has thrown five touchdowns and two interceptions (both against a great Packers defense, though), and played trying to avoid error-prone situations such as throwing into tight windows. Cousins might not be a superstar, but he can get the job done. The only reason that allows me to accept Minnesota’s excessive rushing is the presence of Dalvin Cook in the backfield. Otherwise, a receiving corps featuring Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs should be heavily used, which so far hasn’t happened. The only time it did, in Week 5, you saw the outcome: Cousins passed for 306 yards on 22-for-27 completions, scoring a couple of TDs—both to Adam Thielen.
Fantasy football analysis, Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
I’m not calling for the Vikings to cut a huge part of Dalvin Cook’s workload to give more passing plays to Cousins, but they wouldn't be doing anything crazy. Cousins just had his best game of the season (24 fantasy points, way over his second-best mark of 17 in Week 2) but he did it against a Giants bad defense. This weekend against Philadelphia, he might have another similarly good matchup. The Eagles eat running backs alive but they struggle a lot stopping the passing game. Only the mediocre Jets fell short of passing for more than 155 yards against them, and Philly has given up 225-plus yards on three games already. I can’t think of a better situation for everybody in Minnesota to keep building a stronger connection for the rest of the season than this game. Give Cousins more passing plays, keep Thielen mashing, and involve Diggs more. Everybody wins and Cousins starts to improve his outlook around league circles.