Kirk Cousins Draws Some Top 10 Mentions from ESPN

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball in the first half against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

This summer, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was showcased in a Netflix docuseries called Quarterback and fetched a ranking of No. 42 inside NFL Network‘s player-voted Top 100 players of 2023.

In fact, Cousins’ peers valued him as the league’s sixth-best quarterback this season, trailing only Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert.

Kirk Cousins Draws Some Top 10 Mentions from ESPN

A summer of optimism indeed, the Cousins-themed praise hasn’t stopped. ESPN released its annual ‘QB Ranking top 10 QBs by trait’ article this week, and the soon-to-be 35-year-old was well-represented.

Kirk Cousins Draws
Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN defined its process, “For a third straight year, we asked ESPN’s NFL analysts — Matt Bowen, Tim Hasselbeck, Matt Miller, Dan Orlovsky, Jason Reid, Jordan Reid, Mike Tannenbaum, Seth Walder and Field Yates — to rank their personal top 10 NFL quarterbacks entering the 2023 season in 10 distinct categories, from arm strength to pocket presence. We combined those lists with a points-based system to generate final rankings in each area.”

Cousins enters Year Six as the Vikings QB1 — and a contract season. After much deliberation this offseason, the Vikings brass opted not to extend the signal-caller beyond 2023, setting up quite the climax regarding his future next February or March.

Kirk Cousins Standing Tall for Vikings
Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass the ball in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

And according to the ESPN system, Cousins ranked as follows for 2023 per ‘trait’

  • Accuracy 7th
  • Mechanics7th
  • Decision-making8th
  • Touch 8th
  • Arm StrengthUnranked in Top 10
  • Field VisionUnranked in Top 10
  • Toughness Unranked in Top 10
  • In the Pocket Unranked in Top 10
  • Rushing AbilityUnranked in Top 10
  • Second ReactionUnranked in Top 10

Cousins received votes in all categories except Rushing Ability and Second Reaction Ability.

If Vikings
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against the New York Jets during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky claimed Cousins was snubbed in the Field Vision section, “Kirk Cousins should be in the top 10. The Minnesota offense asks a lot of him when it comes to seeing the field and reading it out, often with multiple layers of progressions. He does it at a very high level.”

ESPN’s Matt Bowen also claimed Cousins was unjustly ignored via ‘Field Vision,’ “Jared Goff sees it fast on both play-action and drop-back concepts, and he can hit defined windows or take the throws that are available. And in Detroit’s heavily schemed pass game, he can set his throwing window to quickly deliver the ball. I’d also like to see Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr on this list.”

Oddsmakers Forecast 'Typical' Year for Kirk Cousins
Nov 22, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins ranks fourth in touchdown passes since joining the Vikings in 2018 and fifth in passing yards. In 2022, during his first go-round with Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, Cousins tied an NFL record for most game-winning drives in a single season with eight.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning league MVP ranked in the Top 3 of every ESPN trait category sans Rushing Ability.

The Vikings kick off the regular season in 26 days at home versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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