Vikings Continue To Take Kirk Cousins’ Durability For Granted

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the Netflix Documentary “Quarterback” the average fan was likely unaware of just how tough Kirk Cousins is, as well as the punishment he continues to take as the signal caller for the Minnesota Vikings. As physical a game as the NFL offers, Kirk Cousins is one of the guys who always seems to get up, no matter the volume of hits or the severity of them.

In his 5+ seasons as Minnesota QB1, Kirk has started 143 of 145 Vikings games. Neither absence was due to injury. The first came in week 17, 2019, after the Vikings had already clinched a WC spot. The second came in 2021, also week 17, due to a positive COVID-19 test.

But in year 6 of Ironman Kirk in purple, it’s clear the Vikings have become far too comfortable assuming Cousins will keep getting up from all of these gut-wrenching hits. If the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Co continue to ignore the interior offensive line next offseason and beyond, we are going to keep seeing more of the same. Hits piling up for Kirk Cousins. And even Ironman isn’t invincible.

QB hits continue to pile up on Kirk Cousins

The Vikings are preparing to face the (0-2) Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, in what seems like a rare must win Week 3 matchup. Through two weeks of the season, Minnesota’s opponents have registered 19 QB hits on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, including 15 knock downs, most in the league by far (Kenny Pickett has the 2nd most with 11).

Related: What They Said: O’Connell, Cousins, Hockenson Speak Prior to Vikings vs Chargers

Even in his first drop-back of the season vs Tampa Bay, Kirk found himself in an all too familiar position — on the ground. Sure, not all of the QB hits surrendered this season have been on the OL, as there are times Kirk hangs onto the ball too long.

Reinforcements coming with Dalton Risner

The Vikings announced this week that Dalton Risner was joining the team, and I am not really sure what to think about it. Over the years there have been plenty of instances where Minnesota’s iOL play has led to a “it can’t be any worse” attitude.

Yet year after year, we are reminded that it absolutely, positively, can be much worse. It will no doubt take Risner a few weeks to get up to speed, as Coach Kevin O’Connell mentioned in his recent presser, being the other offensive linemen on roster have been playing football for a few months now.

Related: Dalton Risner Does Not Expect to Start for Vikings vs Chargers

It’s also important to note that Risner has spent most of his professional career at left guard. The question remains: is Ezra Cleveland going to move to the right side and replace Ed Ingram? Or, will Risner plug-in at RG, so Ezra doesn’t have to learn a new position again?

Remember, the 25-year-old out of Boise State entered the NFL as a tackle. He did play some right guard during his rookie season (2020) but he’s been on the left side since 2021. A lot of questions will be answered in the coming weeks, however.

Continuity proving useless for the iOL

There was a lot of talk this off-season about keeping the same group together on the Vikings OL. Obviously, they have the luxury of two stud tackles on each side, but returning the guys in the middle continues to be a head-scratcher, based on what we have seen from that group.

There is nothing close to a running game, and I do not believe that’s due to Alexander Mattison having his football talent sucked out of him, Space Jam style. But who needs to be multi-dimensional anyways? As Kirk said in the Netflix documentary, part of him kind of enjoys getting hit.

Moving Forward

As the season continues, I think the aggressiveness is essential on offense even if there isn’t a sniff of a running game. Kirk Cousins is in the last year of his deal, and the Vikings shouldn’t be scared to throw it all over the field as the season goes on. I don’t think Kirk would mind, either.

Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan

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