But for Green Bay, the Minnesota Vikings would probably be shopping Kirk Cousins right now.
The Vikings made a supreme commitment to Cousins when they signed him to a 3-year contract in 2018, at an average of $28 million annually. Believe it or not, the deal made Kirk Cousins the (annually) highest-paid player in NFL history. He was even offered $30M per year by the Jets! A fourth-round draft choice in 2012, Kirk’s is a true rags to riches story.
The Vikings, in acquiring the seven-year vet in what should be his prime, paid for a top-tier, elite quarterback – one in theory capable of taking a team that already possessed one of the league’s best defenses straight to the Super Bowl.
Well, in terms of passing yards per game, at an average of 268.6 yards, the Vikings quarterback finished the 2018 season, his first in Minnesota, in 15th place among qualifying quarterbacks. That’s average. Middle of the road. Not what the Vikings expected, or paid for.
But it could have been worse. In his two games against Green Bay last year Cousins averaged – are you ready? – 383.5 passing yards. Take away those two games, and Cousins average would drop to 252.5 yards per game – in 20th place out of 38 QBs.
The Packers allowed Cousins to complete 64 of 86 passes – a stunning 74% – in last season’s games. This aided him in finishing with a completion percentage on the year of 70.1, behind only Drew Brees, who had a marvelous completion rate of 74.4 – an all-time NFL record. Take away those Packers games’ stats, and Cousins moves down to fourth place on the list.
Cousins wound up in ninth place a year ago in touchdowns thrown, with 30. But if you remove the seven TDs he threw against Green Bay, he averaged 1.64 TDs in the other 14 games, which projected through 16 games equals 26.2 TDs, and a so-so 11th place ranking.
Kirk’s passer rating in 2018 was a sound 99.7, good for tenth place among his peers. But against the Packers, his ratings were 118.8 at home in Week 2 and a superlative 129.5 in Week 12. Had it not been for the Packers’ leaky defense, Kirk’s overall passer rating would have been several spots lower on the totem pole.
Not counting the Packers games, Minnesota finishes 7-7, not 8-7-1. You get the picture.
It’s not like the Vikings’ front office didn’t have options before they went after Cousins. Do you remember the incredible situation Minnesota faced in early 2018? The Vikings had no less than three veteran NFL quarterbacks: Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater – all at the same time.
On March 14, 2018, Keenum became a free agent, and that same day he signed on as the Broncos starting quarterback. It was a 2-year $36 million deal. Keenum was picked up by the Cardinals in 2018, and he’s currently the starting QB for the Redskins. He threw for 380 yards in a narrow loss to the Eagles last weekend.
Two days later, Bradford left the Vikings and signed a 2-year deal with the Cardinals, for $20 million, 15 of it guaranteed. After two blowout losses to start the year, he was replaced by rookie QB Josh Rosen. Sam was released in November, and is currently a free agent.
In the spring of 2019, Bridgewater parted ways with the Vikes. He signed a 1-year deal, at a fully-guaranteed $7.25 million, to be the backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Getting back to the intriguing Sunday faceoff at Lambeau, this is the 31-year-old Cousins’ eighth year in the league. He spent the first six with the Washington Redskins. This will be his fifth year as a starter. The only time a Cousins-led team has made the playoffs was in 2015, when he and the Skins lost to the Packers, 35 to 17, in the Wild Card game.
While I’ve painted a picture of Cousins as an unexceptional quarterback, it must be admitted that Kirk was a one-man wrecking crew last season against the Green and Gold. The good news is the Packers didn’t just sit back and accept that humiliation.
First, one week after last year’s loss to Minnesota, the Packers parted ways with head coach Mike McCarthy. Second, they went looking to plug the holes in their defense – the Packers should have six new defensive starters taking the field against Cousins on Sunday. That previous defense is extinct.
I trust that the Pack will be amped up to settle the score with Cousins and the Vikings. The Packers should view this game as a huge grudge match – a chance for some sweet revenge. Last year they made Cousins look like a combination of Brees and Brady.
It appears to me that the Packers defense now has the necessary manpower to contain the Vikings pass attack – and their run game as well. Packers fans should be extra eager to see how this rivalry game unfolds.
If Aaron Rodgers were to incur a serious injury this season, the Packers ought to consider wasting no time in signing Sam Bradford up to be their temporary starter or as the backup to Tim Boyle. It’s the one hole Gutekunst left unfilled. In fact, I’d give much thought to acquiring him right now. It’s said, however, that after two ACL surgeries, he’s got a bone-on-bone knee, with no cartilage.
Signing Sam Bradford would be a colossal pissing away of resources. No QB has made more money while producing such mediocre results in NFL history. I used to blame Jeff Fischer, but he’s had chances everywhere and pees on his shoes every time.
Sam Bradford…one of the main reasons why the NFL pushed for (and got) wage reduction concerning 1st round draft picks in the last CBA, with JaMarcus Russell running a close 2nd.
Jeff George is in the #1 spot for overall #1 suckitute. 46-78 as a starter including a 1-15 season. Bradford made more money and was 34-48-1, but NEVER had a winning record. I will take Boyle. Or Uncle Rico.
Great article. Cousins exposed the fact that the Packers had no decent safeties last year. Plus Jaire Alexander had a bad game in Minnesota.
Part of the reason Cook ran the ball outside could be because the Vikings center is a liability and the Vikings know it. PFF gave him a 0.0 pass blocking grade this past week and now he faces Kenny Clark. Clark might set the tone for Cousins ability to get in rhythm.
Wrote a post here, just to have it disappear, anyway…..
I don’t like the “take away those two games, and the, if this, if that scenario’s. Cousins and the queens had good offensive performances against the Packers last season….simply because, they earned them.You don’t just pretend they didn’t happen.It’s called…proving it, on the field in the regular season and they did. In years past…God knows the Packers defense has made back up, no name QB’s look like future Hall of Famers. Are we ready to declare this defense stronger based upon the game against the bears? Some will, and i will even give credit for that win to our defense (rare). But the bears aren’t the queens, the queens have more weapons on offence, as has been previously proven.
The question now is…is the Packers defense now better equipped to deal with the queens offense? Can the Packers stop the queens like they stopped the bears? For all i know, the Packers will beat the queens 45-0, but that is just talk, and talk is cheap. What i do know is,.. the Packers have the chance to prove game 1 wasn’t a fluke and take care of business in game 2. If the Packers defense takes car of business, i will be one of the first ones to give them their respect as i did in week one. The other thing i know is that cousins will have much more than 10 pass attempts, i don’t know if he was injured, or what that was all about.
But then again…what do i know, i thought the Packers would be 0-1 after week 1. If the Packers were to be 2-0 after week 2, shitting my pants is a real possibility.
98% of the population thought they would be 0-1. Leave it to the Bears to mess it up. Here’s to you shitting your pants…hopefully.
Oh, Rob. Oh oh oh oh…. Rob. Oh my!
Here, yet again, an assassination attempt. You’ve become the John Hinckley Jr. of Packers media.
Your technique on this one was plain and obvious to even a 5th grader. Granted, that means most your Packer readership bought into it entirely….
What you do is take away two game results of your choice and then redo Cousins’ numbers based on them without those two games. Like those two games don’t count. You then re-rank him with the fewer games against all other QBs while not molesting their numbers in any way. Neat trick, Rob! Thing is, that is what it is = a trick.
Let’s do your trick with Aaron Rodgers now, shall we?
Let’s see… he had a lot of bad games… but lets take away that first game last year vs. Chicago because he was drugged up out of his mind and that wasn’t even him and let’s also take away the first Lions game. So then Rodgers drops from 25 TDs (5 behind Cousins) to just 19 TDs, 4 behind Cousins’ altered (thanks to you!) numbers. Also Rodgers then loses 728 yards of passing. His QB rating dips from below Cousins to well below Cousins. You get the picture.
Comparisons Rob. Like to like. You don’t compare apples to oranges and then report the apple is alarmingly less orange than the orange.
The yards per game thing is silly. More yards does not mean it is a better QB. If that was the case then one would be led to believe Rodgers was a better QB than Russell Wilson and everyone knows that is not the case. Or that Mitch Trubisky is better than Rodgers because he threw for more yards than Rodgers in game one.
Now completion % that is important. Do you really actually argue that Cousins is an “unexceptional quarterback” because while his completion % was 2nd in the NFL behind only the record setting % of Drew Brees that Cousins’ completion % would be “down to” 4th best if not for the two Packers games? Really? That’s your proof? Cousins’ completion % was nearly 8 points higher than Rodgers! With a much worse offensive line!
Then you say the Vikings had other options like they were better options. No. They did not have better options. Keenum failed in Denver and lost game one this year and did poorly every year he was not a Viking. Bridgewater was a major injury risk at that point and is a back up QB now. Bradford is out of football! OUT OF FOOTBALL! Yet you indicate he would be a better option than Cousins.
Just goofy, Rob.
You really are like John Hinckley Jr. Not just because of your assassination attempt. It is the failure of said attempt that really makes you most like Hinckley.
Bridgewater went to the Dolphins in 2018, then to NOLA in 2019. Keenum to Denver in 2018 then moved to Washington in 2019. Bradford to the desert in 2018 was accurate.
I am seeing what looks to be a big rift growing between A. Rodgers and LaFleur. It was totally obvious after that last clusterfuck before halftime. Some really bad play calling and execution by the Green Bay Offense. Rodgers appears totally angry with LaFleur. There was a comment by one of the commentators regarding Rodgers attitude about being coached by LaFleur and running his plays. I do not recall exactly what they quoted Rodgers with, but it was NOT GOOD! Rodgers basically said (paraphrasing of course) that he was going to do what he wanted . . . period.
Again The quote wasn’t from Rodgers, it was from their talk with Mike Zimmer. The quote was from Mike Zimmer. You may have completely missed the entire context of that conversation because it was in reference to Zimmer not caring what the offense was or who called the plays, Rodgers could make things happen.
I’m behind watching the game because i’m watching on delay, but….whoever the F said Kevin King covers like glue should rewatch Diggs 45 yard td catch with 9:12 to play in the 3rd. WTF was that?. Keep crowning these guys, keep up the good work.
In related….Kudos to Alexander coming over to nearly pick it off…….as King watched.
Whose idea was it to draft Elgton Jenkins, and whose idea was it to have Jimmy Graham in to block Danielle Hunter?
WTF is going on here?
Need a laugh?…..Tramon Williams school of tackling….Pupil Kevin King, 12:28 left in the 4th.