Just Admit It: Kirk Cousins is an Elite NFL Quarterback

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings pulled out one of the most important heavy underdog victories in recent franchise history, on Monday Night Football vs the San Francisco 49ers yesterday. The victory was far from perfect, but it was a rather impressive team effort.

Cam Bynum and Jordan Addison had their NFL coming out parties and the defense stepped up to force 4 takeaways, which helped hold the Niners’ offense to just 17 points. In a close contest, though, the difference between the two teams was at quarterback.

Related: Minnesota Vikings Defense Rankings 2023 – Week 7

Kirk Cousins is/was/will be the difference for Vikings

Brock Purdy looked impressive early and he’ll probably be a good quarterback for a long time. But when the big moment came last night, he threw the game to Minnesota’s defense.

Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, looked absolutely elite for 60 minutes. Controversy hit early and often for the Vikings offense vs the Niners, which has happened a lot this season. Just for starters, they were forced to kick two field goals from inside the 20-yard line (one from inside the 5) and Kirk threw an interception on the first drive of the game.

Those are not usually ingredients to a winning strategy. But throughout Monday’s contest, one thing remained constant no matter the situation. When the Minnesota Vikings needed Kirk Cousins to step up, with the lights bright vs arguably the best team in the NFC, he did. Over and over again.

Early, middle, late and especially in those same big moments, he willed his team to 1st downs and maintained drives at all costs, tossing footballs to whichever eligible receiver was open to catch them and bringing stability that only a handful of teams get from their starting quarterback on a week in week out basis.

The more you watch Kirko play lately, now deep into his mid-30s, the more you realize he is one of the elite quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL. His numbers are near the top of every QB category and, if you watch Vikings games regularly, the eye test vindicates those statistics.

RkPass YPGPass TDCmp %QB Rating
1Tua Tagovailoa298.9Kirk Cousins16Tua Tagovailoa71.2%Tua Tagovailoa110.4
2Kirk Cousins293.9Josh Allen15Lamar Jackson71.0%Brock Purdy107.2
3Patrick Mahomes288.1Patrick Mahomes15Josh Allen70.7%Lamar Jackson101.9
4CJ Stroud276.7Tua Tagovailoa15Patrick Mahomes69.5%Kirk Cousins101.7
5Matthew Stafford272.6Russell Wilson13Dak Prescott69.5%Patrick Mahomes101.0
6Jared Goff271.1Justin Fields11Kirk Cousins68.9%Josh Allen100.7

We can argue semantics and discuss how good or not good Cousins has been during his 11.5 seasons in the NFL. If you want to talk about who you’d draft, if picking a QB to start your franchise the next 3, 5 or 10 years, he obviously drops down the list, just based on age. But those debates will forever rage on.

Related: Vikings Have No Plans to Trade Kirk Cousins but Continue to Take Calls on Others

It’s getting harder and harder to argue, however that — up through week 7 in the 2023-24 season — Kirk Cousins is a top-5 quarterback in the NFL right now and he should 100% be one of the favorites for MVP, especially now that his team is back in the playoff race (2nd in the NFC North, 0.5 games back of final NFC wildcard).

The Minnesota Vikings have the hardest part of their schedule behind them and play the division rival Green Bay Packers, in Lambeau Field, this coming Sunday. If Kirk continues to ball out and Minnesota crawls back to .500, the Kirko for MVP hype train is gonna leave the station and never return.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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