Tracking Kirk Cousins
We will track Kirk Cousins in his second season as Vikings quarterback.
Inside the numbers
Grade: 8 out of 10
Cousins lauded the Vikings' "aggressive" approach, which included play-action deep balls on first down, during Sunday's 38-20 win against the Eagles. The Vikings entered Sunday as one of the NFL's most run-heavy teams on first down (58%, to be exact), but coordinator Kevin Stefanski changed the script. Cousins executed almost flawlessly, save for a couple of inaccurate long passes, while throwing four touchdown passes — three to Stefon Diggs.
"If anything, what you don't do is reinvent the wheel and change things that worked in the past. When we missed Diggsy on that post before the end of the half, I thought about apologizing to him, but apparently that's not what you do around here. I guess my days of apologizing to people are over. I didn't say a word to him and we came back to him in the second half." – Kirk Cousins, asked if his approach has changed during back-to-back wins.
Avoiding pressure: Cousins thrived against a depleted Eagles secondary missing two starting cornerbacks. His most challenging foes came from Philadelphia's front, featuring defensive end Brandon Graham and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. They managed just a hit apiece on Cousins (four as a team). He was aggressive in decisionmaking, finding open targets quickly. Even when Cousins faced pressure on a couple of bootlegs, he avoided it, including a 16-yard completion to Olabisi Johnson and a 13-yard toss to Kyle Rudolph in the fourth quarter. Cousins orchestrated Stefanski's up-tempo pacing well, gathering the offense at the line of scrimmage for a 14-yard handoff to Dalvin Cook, which caught the defense off guard following a 20-yard throw to Adam Thielen.
Couple of missed shots: Even Cousins' lone interception wasn't his fault. A third-down pass to the sideline bounced off Diggs' hands, leading to the pick by Eagles safety and former Viking Andrew Sendejo. Cousins lamented a couple of missed opportunities, including his third-and-8 throw to Thielen. His deep pass to the left pylon floated and Thielen couldn't get both feet down before he was hit by the incoming defensive back. Cousins later overthrew Diggs on what could've been another deep touchdown just before halftime.
Dominating Philadelphia: There's no team Cousins has more wins against (six) in his NFL career than the Eagles. Going back to his days against Philadelphia in the NFC East as Washington's quarterback, Cousins has made a habit of posting big games. Cousins has thrown for 2,754 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine meetings, meaning he averages 306 yards and more than two TDs per game vs. Eagles.