Kirk Cousins’ NFL Top 100 Ranking Is a Surprise

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Inch by inch, NFL Network is releasing its annual player-voted ‘NFL Top 100‘ players list.

And when the page turned to the Top 50, many Minnesota Vikings fans wondered if quarterback Kirk Cousins had been snubbed altogether.

Kirk Cousins’ NFL Top 100 Ranking Is a Surprise

Well, an answer arrived Monday, and Cousins was not snubbed. The 34-year-old checked in at No. 42 on the network’s famous list.

NFL Top 100 ranking
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Sandwiched between Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (No. 41) and Houston Texans linebacker Demario Davis (No. 43), Cousins made the cut via player voting for the seventh time in his career. In fact, it’s the highest placement for Cousins amid his 12 seasons in the business.

Here’s his history with the countdowns, with a reminder that Cousins took over as a full-time starter in Washington in 2015:

Kirk Cousins,
NFL Top 100 Rankings,

2016 = 85th
2017 = 70th
2018 = 94th
2019 = 78th
2020 = 58th
2021 = n/a
2022 = 99th
2023 = 42nd

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s a 57-spot climb for Cousins, who somehow outranked Aaron Rodgers (No. 51, New York Jets) and Lamar Jackson (No. 72, Baltimore Ravens), among others like Trevor Lawrence (No. 96, Jacksonville Jaguars) and Tua Tagovailoa (No. 82, Miami Dolphins).

Cousins’ Vikings finished 13-4 last year, a win-loss total that seemed to arrive out of nowhere. Oddsmakers predicted Minnesota to win 8.5 games at this time last year, coincidentally the win-loss mark assigned to the Vikings as of July 2023, as well. But then the Vikings morphed into ‘situational masters’ in 2022, ending the season with an impeccable 11-0 record in one-score games, an NFL record.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins, too, nibbled at an NFL record via game-winning drives, tying Matthew Stafford’s total with 8 in a single season. Until the postseason, Cousins and the Vikings lost no close games and routinely won barnburners after the 2020 and 2021 seasons showcased the opposite — Minnesota coughing away leads at the end of the 2nd and 4th quarters.

Teammate and the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson said about Cousins in the NFL Network vignette video, “We put the chains on him, and he got into a different character than he was before. He’s doing a great job leading this team, and we’re going to be right behind him.”

The Vikings 4 Realistic
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins threw for 4,547 passing yards in 2022, with 31 total touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The statline was fairly typical for Cousins, but the team’s wins and losses catapulted the man into a new tier of peer respect.

Since joining Minnesota via free agency in 2018, Cousins ranks fourth leaguewide in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards. He’ll experience the same offensive playcaller and offensive coordinator in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2016-2017.

The NFL’s 42nd-best player turns 35 in three weeks.

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