Chris Simms a Little Kinder to Kirk Cousins in This Year’s QB Rankings

Jan 21, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; CBS Sports announcer Chris Simms on field prior to an AFC divisional round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

By the numbers, Kirk Cousins actually had a better season in 2021 than in 2022, Mike Zimmer’s final year with the Minnesota Vikings. But nobody cared because Cousins’ team missed the postseason.

Chris Simms a Little Kinder to Kirk Cousins in This Year’s QB Rankings

Fast forward to a new year and head coach in 2022, and Cousins tied an NFL single-season record in game-winning drives (eight) and guided Minnesota to a 13-4 record, plus a division title for the first time in five years.

Many believed Cousins had ‘awakened’ in 2022, but all he really did was continue his late-game heroics from 2020 and 2021 while his defense didn’t squander the leads in Kevin O’Connell’s first year. The Vikings 2022 defense certainly had shortcomings, but end-of-game stops were not one of them.

Now, because Cousins satiated some folks’ precious ‘eye test,’ he’s painted in a more positive light, including former NFL quarterback Chris Simms. Phil’s son works for NBC Sports and recently started counting down his top quarterbacks heading into 2023.

Cousins placed 12th.

Chris Simms a Little
November 15, 2009; Landover, MD, USA; Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks Kyle Orton (8) and Chris Simms (2) watch from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Simms’ countdown isn’t complete yet, but here’s the latest as of June 4th:

Cousins ahead of Dak Prescott enraged some — especially Cowboys fans — but such is life with anything pertaining to Cousins. Daniel Jones’ placement ahead of Cousins is a little weird, mainly because Jones’ only looked otherworldly efficient in two games last year — both against the Vikings. On the whole, though, Jones threw 15 touchdown passes in 2022, hoodwinking the Giants into donating a $160 million contract to his cause. Wild.

Kirk Cousins Took
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and guard Austin Schlottmann (65) warm up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Simms dropping Cousins into the 12th spot is, all things considered, quite fair. That’s about where he belongs. He plays in an elite tier of quarterbacking for about 5-8 games per year and then plays decent-to-good the rest of the way. Cousins is also accountable for 1 or 1.5 horrid games annually, and those really dispatch the pitchforks from his detractors. It’s all a part of The Cousins Experience.

Per credible metrics, this is how Cousins finished in 2022:

Kirk Cousins,
2022 Year-End Rankings:

9th in PFF
12th in Passer Rating
17th in DVOA
17th in EPA+CPOE

Reveals Vikings Post
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass the ball against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Those rankings average 14, two spots below Simm’s 12th-best-in-the-league classification. Here’s what Cousins did in 2021:

Kirk Cousins,
2021 Year-End Rankings:

4th in Passer Rating
5th in PFF
8th in DVOA
14th in EPA+CPOE

Too, in 2023, Cousins will experience playcalling continuity for the first time in seven years. The last time he had the same offensive coordinator in back-t0-back seasons was 2015-2016 with the Washington Commanders. The playcaller was Sean McVay,

Cousins will also benefit from offensive continuity for the first time in his Minnesota career. All five OL starters from 2022 are projected to start this September.

The man turns 35 in August.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by