A day after the Vikings’ 26-23 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he’s not overly concerned with quarterback Kirk Cousins after a handful of off-target throws cost the Vikings chances to sustain drives.
Cousins threw three touchdowns without a turnover and passed for 220 yards, but completed only 19 of his 38 passes and finished with his second-lowest completion percentage of the season (behind his 43.8% rate in a Week 2 loss to the Packers). The quarterback gave a lengthy explanation for his misfires after the game, saying he needed to do a better job of putting his body in the right position to hit his target.
“My hips were open to the middle of the field, reading a post route or a far cross, and then I have a flat to my right,” he said. “Rather than flip my hips, [I was] throwing from that open position, trying to make that throw. That contributes to the ball being high. As a quarterback, you take pride in being able to make all of the throws without having to move your hips — you know, being able to do a shoulder turn and throw the ball. But certainly, you go back and look and say, ‘Should I just flip my hips there and gotten the ball?’ I think one of the guys was on a stunt and got in there, but on another one I could have probably done that.
“I take pride in throwing accurately regardless, so you have to make the throw because a good quarterback does not have a base and can still make the throw.”
Asked to assess Cousins on Monday, Zimmer said, “It’s just footwork.” According to ESPN Stats and Information, Cousins was a career-worst 0-for-9 when throwing under duress; when asked about the quarterback’s play under duress, Zimmer said, “I don’t know; it’s hard for me to remember all those nine plays you’re talking about. He missed some throws. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll be all right.”
In the Vikings’ four October wins, Cousins completed 78.5% of his passes for 1,261 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception (which was deflected by Stefon Diggs) on his way to NFC offensive player of the month honors. His 112.0 passer rating for the season is the highest of his career, and ranks third in the NFL behind Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes.
After the game on Sunday, Zimmer said he didn’t think the Vikings did enough to help Cousins. On Monday, his most pointed critique of the quarterback was with how much time Cousins spent analyzing his own mistakes after the game.
“I happened to watch Kirk’s news conference after the game, and he gave up way too much information,” Zimmer said, before discussing the Vikings’ three-and-outs on their final two drives.
On the first of those two possessions, Cousins threw incomplete for C.J. Ham on first down, before having a pass batted down to start the Vikings’ second drive. He then threw a screen to Irv Smith Jr. that lost 7 yards, and threw incomplete to Dalvin Cook on third down.
“Basically, one of the screens, they were in man coverage and they covered it, so we ended up losing like [seven] yards,” Zimmer said. “We had another play called that we could have checked out of. So there was a bunch of different things.”