Kirk Cousins & O-Line Improvement are Only Camp Storylines that Matter

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fires the ball before Jacksonville tight end Ben Koyack (83) can get to him in the first quarter of a NFL Preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)
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Are you ready for the Minnesota Vikings content dump that is coming from all media outlets around Minnesota over the next week, as players arrive at Training Camp 2019?

Will this person make the team? Will this veteran be cut? Who will win the WR3 spot? etc…..

We’ll see them all because it’s Vikings season and we can’t get enough football.

But, if we are being honest with ourselves, there are only two storylines that actually matter. Really… just one storyline that has another major contributing factor. Kirk Cousins’ success in 2019 will make or break the Vikings’ entire season. That’s the storyline BUT I can’t decipher his success without first figuring out whether his offensive line is vaslty improved from last season.

Kirk can practice running around in the pocket all that he wants and I’m glad he has Mike Zimmer convinced of his improved mobility… but let’s be real… Kirk Cousins didn’t guzzle down some magic potion in the offseason that gave him the pocket awareness of other elite QB’s. And his biggest problem isn’t mobility, it’s pocket awareness. I find myself screaming at my TV like I’m watching a bad 1940’s horror flick when the pocket starts to collape around him.

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Our $84M QB investment is a good one and he can be deadly, if given time to pick defenses apart, but when continually subjected to beat-downs by opposing defenses… he looks like pre-cut meat being thrown into a shark circle. Kirk needs a good offensive line to be successful. That’s just the way it is. An improvement on that terrible offensive line from last year would mean substantial improvement in Kirk’s play, and thus, a Vikings team that is back in the playoffs.

We had a completely different QB early in the year vs the Packers and Rams. We didn’t see that guy at the end of the season. So, here’s what to watch for during the next 2 months of training camp and preseason.

  • How much better is 2019 Riley Reiff?
  • Does Brian O’Neil take another step in his sophomore season?
  • Does Pat Elflein have a better season now that he’s at Guard full-time?
  • Is Rookie Garrett Bradbury as good as advertised?
  • How do all of these pieces look under the new zone blocking scheme?

How good will the Vikings be in 2019? How good can the offensive line make Kirk Cousins look? It will be as simple as that.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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