The 2021 season was one of the best in the career of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. He earned his third Pro Bowl nod, completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,221 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Cousins threw only seven interceptions, giving him the lowest interception percentage of his career. A big reason that he was able to produce as much as he did was the improvement of the offensive line.
After absorbing 39 sacks during the 2020 season in 16 games, Cousins was sacked only 28 times in just as many games in 2021. That improvement was key as Cousins led three fourth-quarter comebacks and four comebacks overall on the season.
2022 is going to be a little different for Cousins, as he will be learning a new offense with the coaching staff turning over. Gone is defensive-minded Mike Zimmer, fired after eight seasons with the team. Replacing him as head coach is Kevin O’Connell, who was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams the last two seasons.
Anyone who has watched the Rams play that is a Vikings fan has to be excited about what O’Connell can bring to the table. Los Angeles put up 30 points on Minnesota in a Week 16 matchup last season, gaining 356 total yards despite having three turnovers and a punt return for a touchdown.
O’Connell has some high expectations for his new quarterback coming into the season. While making an appearance on Sirius XM Radio, O’Connell said Cousins has everything you need to succeed in his system.
“Kirk has all the characteristics of what I think makes a productive quarterback in this system.”
That is certainly high praise from the head coach as the pieces are in place for Cousins to have another big year. Matthew Stafford threw for 4,888 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, completing 67.2 percent of his 601 pass attempts.
If Cousins is given that kind of workload, he could have a career season. Justin Jefferson is already among the best wide receivers in the NFL with Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn behind him at wide receiver. Irv Smith Jr. is a promising player at the tight end position and Dalvin Cook remains one of the best in the business out of the backfield.