Kirk Cousins’ 2023 PFF Power Ranking Will Surprise You

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Pro Football Focus has an up-and-down relationship with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins — and that’s okay. You probably do, too.

The passer usually ends a regular season in the outfit’s Top 10 grading system, but its pundits often have difficulty acknowledging Cousins’ legitimacy.

Kirk Cousins’ 2023 PFF Power Ranking Will Surprise You

After Cousins helped the Vikings engineer the league’s biggest comeback in NFL history against the Indianapolis Colts in December, PFF’s Sam Monson said on a Week 15 podcast, “People are complaining about Kirk Cousins’ [PFF grade] in this game. Cousins didn’t do that much in this game. Like he didn’t start driving this comeback with a bunch of big-time throws and amazing play and stuff.”

2023 PFF Power Ranking
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Cousins fired up a 59.7 PFF grade versus Indianapolis, equivalent to the performances of Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan all year in 2022. En route to the comeback, Cousins delivered 417 passing yards and 4 touchdowns in the 2nd Half alone. The yardage mark was the most by an NFL quarterback in the 2nd Half of a game in 45 years.

That’s just an isolated example of a Cousins-themed dichotomy regarding PFF grades and PFF writers’ analysis. This week, though, PFF was unusually friendly to Cousins, ranking him at No. 9 inside its 2023 quarterback power rankings. Whoodathunkit?

Reveals Vikings Post
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Sandwiched between Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars) at No. 8 and Dallas’ Dak Prescott at No. 10, Monson wrote about Cousins’ ninth-in-the-league ranking, “Cousins is probably at the top of the second tier of quarterbacks — those who you can win with but are unlikely to transform a team into a contender simply by their presence. Cousins has earned a PFF passing grade of at least 77.7 every season in Minnesota. He is an exceptionally accurate passer with plenty of big plays in his arsenal who maybe lacks that transcendent, intangible talent that every team chases at the position.”

When any NFL season concludes, Cousins is typically around the NFL’s 12th-best passer among various metrics like PFF grade, EPA+CPOE, QBR, passer rating, etc. Monson is correct that Cousins alone cannot drag a franchise to the Promised Land — he would’ve done it by now, if so — but he is a damn good and consistent quarterback.

to win over nyg
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Since joining the Vikings five years ago, he ranks fourth leaguewide in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards. Still, some blame Cousins for the team’s defensive woes from 2020-2022, particularly hoping he’d ‘do more’ to whisk the team toward a Super Bowl. But Cousins simply isn’t that good. He’ll eternally live in a Tony Romo-like state, qualifying as steady and productive — to the tune of 4,000+ and 30+ touchdowns yearly like clockwork — but never entering a Mahomesian or Brady quarterbacking tier.

This year, Cousins embarks on his final season in purple, at least per contractual standing. Minnesota’s front office hasn’t extended Cousins’ contract beyond 2023, scheduling the 34-year-old for free agency in 10 months.

If he lives up to the No. 9 power ranking described by PFF, how could the team let him walk? It would have to be a foundational pivot to ‘the next guy,’ probably from the 2024 NFL Draft.

Cousins will turn 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 OverTheCap.com.

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