Through the first three games of the season, Pro Football Focus rated Kirk Cousins as the third-best quarterback in the NFL. He is at number 1 in Dalvin Cook’s ranking.
Running back Vikings said on Wednesday that no quarterback in the league is playing better than his teammate now.
“That’s the statement,” Cook said. “I feel the same way about my quarterback. … He’s playing well. He’s turning off the lights. Go look at his numbers, his numbers are there. He’s bowling.”
Cousins completed 88 of 109 passes (73.9 percent) for 918 yards with eight touchdowns and no interception. His passer rating of 118.3 ranks him fourth in the NFL.
“With a clean pocket, best in the game, man,” Cook said. “The best. He’s just rolling the ball loose and being him, man. But you’re starting to see that leadership side.”
Cook said that in his fourth season with the Vikings, Cook is showing more emotion after describing his early years this way: “When he first got here, it was like, I’m figuring it out. ‘ ”
Cook was ruled out of the game against Seattle at US Bank Stadium last Sunday with an ankle injury, but the Vikings still won 30-17 after coming in as a two-point underdog. Much of the credit goes to Cousins, who completed 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards with three touchdowns and no interception against the Seahawks.
Cook made the remarks shortly before Cousins arrived to address the media on Wednesday. The cousins were in a nearby room, but they said they had been informed of what Cook had said.
“He is kind,” said the cousin. “He’s a good teammate. He told me he’s just gone that he raised you guys for me, so now I know what that means. My job is just to be consistent, keep working and get good. Trying to put things on tape.”
About whether he’s playing the best of any NFL quarterback now or whether he’s having the best stretch in his tenure with the Vikings, Cousins said he’s not ranked.
“I’m not really in the business of talking publicly about my play or trying to evaluate it for everyone else,” he said. “I guess it’s about the next play, where are you going from here.”
However, Vikings’ public relations staff is in exasperation. It has tweeted a lot of numbers about Cousins this week, including that he is one of just four NFL quarterbacks to have a passer rating of 115.0 or better in the first three games during 115 attempts. . Other names were Indianapolis with Peyton Manning in 2010 and Denver in 2013, Tom Brady with New England in 2015 and Drew Brees with New Orleans in 2018.
Brady, who is now with Tampa Bay, is the top-rated quarterback in three games this season, and Ryan Tanhill of Tennessee is No. 2, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Vikings are going 1-2 in Sunday’s game against Cleveland at US Bank Stadium, but they are third in the NFL in total offense. And for the first time since making a regular start with Washington in 2015, Cousins made no inroads in the first three games.
“He is playing very well, playing with great confidence, playing fast,” said fullback CJ Haim. “He has inspired all of us to play with a lot of confidence. It’s contagious when your leader is playing so well.”
Maybe it helps that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Cousins are watching a movie together every week. The cousins said the two had done it sporadically in the past, but they started doing it on a weekly basis in spring practice and resumed practice when training camp started.
“It’s helpful to have a structured time each week to meet with the head coach as quarterback,” Cousins said. “It helps to take that planned time every week to go to the third level, go to our offensive plan at the higher level, go to the dynamics of our team, whatever.”
Zimmer Long is considered one of the NFL’s top defensive coaches. So whatever he points to the cousin has to do with opposing defense.
“It’s helped both ways,” Zimmer said. “I think the communication between us is much better. I can understand some things that he is thinking during the game. I can try to give him some suggestions according to the defensive back or the alignment or the front, which teams trying to do.”
Zimmer, however, does not take credit for the film sessions that lead to Cousins’ brilliant play.
“No, I think he’s playing well,” said the coach. “I don’t think I had anything to do with it.”