Vikings QB Is an All-Time Great — In One Statistic

Kirk Cousins Is Probably Sitting on a Big Game
Kirk Cousins

Football is a great sport to find interesting statistics. The numbers of every little play find their way into the statistics and form huge databases. Some of them make a player look like an all-time great, like Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Twitter account of NFL GameDay found a way to make Cousins look like a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Granted, this is somewhat a random statistic. However, it shows the level of production the Vikings quarterback is capable of providing consistently. If it was easy, other quarterbacks had done the same. Even players in the same era like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, or Matt Ryan couldn´t come up with those numbers.

Nobody would confuse him for Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. The two quarterbacks dominated their respective eras in terms of numbers and quarterback play. However, neither of the two players accomplished nearly as much as a different quarterback in their time. For Marino, that passer was Joe Montana. Manning’s counterpart was Tom Brady. They don’t have the rings but were awesome passers. Manning played for the Indianapolis Colts and, later, the Denver Broncos. That shows to some extent that even generational quarterbacks needed the right surrounding around them.

After struggling in his rookie year, Manning took the league by storm and lived up to his draft hype. He went to 14 Pro Bowls, won five league MVPs, and is a seven-time first-team and three-time second-team All-Pro. His 2013 Broncos scored the most points per game in a single season since the merger. He also holds the single-season record for the most touchdown passes and yards and is currently third in yards and touchdowns all-time behind Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Kirk Cousins a Footnote in ESPN QB Rankings
Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Dan Marino played in the 1980s and 1990s, an era where teams liked to run the ball. But not with Dan Marino. In 1984, Marino threw for 48 touchdowns. The old record was held by Y.A. Tittle and George Blanda. They’ve thrown for 36 touchdowns each, Little in 1961 and Blanda in 1963. Marino’s record would stand until Manning threw one more in 2004. Marino’s 48 scores are still fifth, only behind Manning twice, Mahomes, and Brady. The Dolphins’ quarterback had possibly the greatest quarterback season of all time. His passing yard total of over 5,000 yards in that season remained the record until Brees broke it in 2011.

Cousins’ career has nothing to do with all-time greats like that, and not even the biggest supporters of the Vikings passer would say that. However, his durability and consistency can’t be denied. Since he became the starter in 2015, he missed just one game because of Covid. His streak of throwing for 25 or more touchdowns in seven consecutive seasons is fifth all-time. Peyton Manning leads that statistic with 13. Brees and Rivers had 11, Brady 10.

Vikings QB Will Take Mighty Streak into Week 1
Nov 17, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

After the hiring of Kevin O’Connell as the new Vikings head coach, it is expected that the Vikings will throw more passes in 2022 and beyond. If that’s the case, there will be a lot more stats like that with Marino and Manning. Cousins needs 4,000 passing yards in the upcoming season to tie Eli Manning for the 8th most seasons with 4,000 passing yards. He already leads the Vikings in most games with three or more passing touchdowns and no interceptions with 16, which is four more than Daunte Culpepper.

The goal for the new Vikings regime has to be to transform those all-time great numbers from Kirk Cousins into wins. Since he is not one of the all-time greats like Peyton Manning, who also couldn’t win without great teams around him, the surroundings for the quarterback have to be improved to put him in the best possible position. General manager Adofo-Mensah already put resources into the defense and the offensive in free agency and the draft. Cousins also has to improve in certain areas, like playing out of the structure to help his teams to more success.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt