Kirk Cousins Is Getting Blasted

Kirk Cousins Is Getting Blasted
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) gets sacked by Miami Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts. © JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings are 12-3 through 15 games, with a fancy NFC North crown, license to the NFL’s greatest comeback of all time, and the NFC’s No. 2 seed [as of now] in the playoff standings. To be frank, things are going well for the purple team.

However, in spite of all the lofty feats — nearly all of them unforeseen — Minnesota’s quarterback is getting absolutely blasted. For a change, it’s not by fans. It’s by opposing defenders. Somehow, the Vikings offensive line feels markedly improved, but Cousins is getting hit in the pocket more than ever.

Kirk Cousins Is Getting Blasted

Alec Lewis from The Athletic tweeted Sunday, “Kirk Cousins has been hit 125 times this year through 15 games. Not once in any season since 2000 (which is as far back as @TruMediaSports goes) has a QB been hit more through 15 games. This guy is an absolute warrior.”

kirk cousins is getting
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Why isn’t this a bigger deal or story? Simple — the Vikings are winning. Twelve wins in 16 weeks deodorize all stinky odors. If the Vikings were trending toward a ho-hum 8-9 season, like 2021, Vikings faithful would bemoan the offensive trenches and Cousins’ torment. However, it just isn’t necessary because Minnesota wins close game after close game — after close game.

The Vikings also rank 27th in sacks allowed per game, the sixth-worst in the NFL. In 2021, Minnesota allowed the fourth-fewest sacks. That offensive line wasn’t very good via pass protection, but it didn’t let plays end in sacks.

Vikings Lower than Preseason Expectations in PFF WR Rankings  
Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. © Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The naughty Vikings stat tweeted by Lewis, plus the sacks-allowed figure, is also a testament to Cousins personally. While the 34-year-old isn’t universally loved — and is the recipient of false narratives weaponized against him — the man is as durable as a tank. Cousins doesn’t miss games to injury. He doesn’t come off the field after brutal hits. On 124 occasions in 2022, Cousins has hopped back up after a hit and participated in the Vikings next offensive play.

Durability has always been an unsung aspect of Cousins’ toolkit. Folks take his iron-man status for granted and pivot to a mentality of, “Well, he makes $35 million per year. He better stay healthy.” The guy gets murdered on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays but doesn’t grace injury reports or injured reserve.

Whoodathunkit. Quiet Kirk = Winning Kirko.
Kirk Cousins

Thankfully for Cousins’ sake, his performance over the last few weeks is improving, and Vikings loyalists are finally seeing the light about his steady-eddy demeanor. He tied the NFL record for game-winning drives in a single season on Christmas Eve with eight. His 4th Quarter production ranks near the top of the industry. And his team is 12-3.

Meanwhile, he’s being blasted by opposing defenders. But he just stands up and takes it like a Balboa-Creed fight.

His next bout with the quarterback hits occurs in Week 17 at Lambeau Field, which, of course, is perhaps, at times, the toughest place to play in the NFL, particularly in early January.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).