Pro Football Focus recently did an overall ranking of NFL QBs at what is basically the midpoint of this NFL season. The number that sticks out is 8 — the jersey number of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and also his place in the rankings.
While that qualifies as a shade below elite, it puts him in a cluster of very good quarterbacks — one spot behind Tom Brady, two spots ahead of Carson Wentz, for example — and validates the eye test.
Cousins has been everything advertised, which includes some negatives such as his fumbles, but on balance he has not just stabilized a revolving door at QB but produced far above-average play.
Making Cousins' first nine games even more impressive is the below-average offensive line he's been working behind. That group ranks No. 29 of 32 NFL teams in similar PFF midyear rankings, though the site did note a minor positive in the adequate play of rookie Brian O'Neill at tackle.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.