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Kirk Cousins: Not Great, Not Terrible

Football Outsiders ranks the Minnesota passing offense 18th. That sounds about right.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Thanks to the nflFastR project and NFL NextGen Stats for the timely sources of data.

For those of you new to this, I will publish key QB stats each week judging how well the Colts passing game performed. Yes, O-Line, receivers, and play-calling impact these numbers but they are primarily QB measures. I will probably modify the charts throughout the season. Commentary will be brief but feel free to let me know in the comments that stats aren’t everything. (click charts for larger view)

NOTE: All references to rankings are of the top 32 QBs by dropbacks through the current week.

This is Kirk Cousins’ 5th year with the Minnesota Vikings. In his prior 4 years with them, he ranked 17th in cumulative epa efficiency. Year 5 is not much different.

This year, Cousins has faced harder than average opponents while the Vikings' run game has been below average (8th opd, 22nd arsr), so his actual results should be adjusted up a bit.

He holds the ball longer than average (12th ttt) while throwing shorter than average attempts (17th adot). That is usually not a good combo, suggesting he is not finding his first reads. However, he is not merely checking down either as he has an above-average completed depth of target (13th ay/c).

He has better than average accuracy (12th cpoe), but his receivers are not giving him much yac (32nd yac, 31st yacoe). So even though he has good completion depth, his YPA drops below league average (21st ypa).

He faces the 5th highest pressure rate but handles that well by throwing the ball away and avoiding sacks (3rd ta%, 17th sk%). That keeps his overall yardage efficiency from dropping any lower (21st ny/d).

He has a below-average turnover rate and basically average TD rate (21st to%, 18th td%), but he has been pretty good at throwing first downs (13th 1st%). That leads him to an above-average passing success rate, but a slightly below-average epa efficiency (12th psr, 19th epa/d).

He’s just hanging around the middle of the pack.


His trends all hover around the “I’m an average QB” line.


His passing and completion depth has been creeping up over the season.


The drop-off from Justin Jefferson to Adam Thielen is stark.


His accuracy was on a downward spiral through week 11 but has since been trending back up. Keep in mind this increase in accuracy is happening while his passing depth has been increasing, so that’s fairly impressive.


He holds the ball a bit longer than he should based on passing depth, but it is not something that is so dramatic as to be concerning.


He has the most success with deep passes (I’m looking at you Justin Jefferson).