- Is Kirk Cousins the missing piece to the Vikings Super Bowl puzzle?
- How does he stack up to the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL?
- Check out our props for the upcoming Cousins era in Minnesota
“You like that?”
It’s the catchphrase from a game that turned into the jump off for Kirk Cousins.
The date was October 25, 2015, and Cousins, the quarterback out of Michigan State – who, at the time was best known as the controversial replacement for 2012 Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III – led the Washington professional football team to a 31-30 comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
From that point forward, he blossomed from an average-at-best pivot with a ghastly interception rate into a competent NFL quarterback, to where he is now: commanding a fully guaranteed NFL contract as a free agent signing of the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s the first-ever such pact believed to be signed in the history of the league.
You can argue whether this was good spending by the Vikings, but that’s for another topic. For now, optimism reigns supreme for the peeps in purple. They’re bringing back most of the players that dominated the league for long stretches last year, with this aggressive all-in move to nab the best player available in free agency, the missing piece to their Super Bowl puzzle.
Make no mistake: their time is now.
Does Cousins crack the top 10 rankings of QBs in the league? Perhaps, though it’s just as easy to place him in the 11-15 range without flinching, only now he’s getting paid like the best signal-caller to ever step on the field.
While we wait to see how it plays out, now is as good a time as any to put some of our hard earned income on the line here.
We’ve got some tasty props for the upcoming Kirk Cousins season. So have a seat, take a load off – there’s gotta be something here that you’re going to like.
Over/Under passing touchdowns for Kirk Cousins in 2018: 31.5
In three full seasons as a starter, three very good seasons, Cousins has yet to break the 30 TD passes threshold. He will be given every opportunity to, as he inherits a high-octane offense that turned Case Keenum from castoff to stud. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are just entering their primes, Kyle Rudolph is part safety blanket, part seam-breaker working the middle of the field, while Dalvin Cook keep defenses honest with some solid running.
Over/Under games the Vikings win in 2018: 10.5
Regression is a part of football. The Vikings won 13 games last season. And their schedule isn’t doing them any favors this time around. They play the Saints and the 49ers at home, then three really tough roadies, visiting the Rams, Patriots and the Eagles. Oh, and they play some dude in their division a couple times, named Rodgers.
Over/Under Cousins passing yards in 2018: 4650.5
His career high is 4,917 two campaigns ago, and he’s been under 4,200 in 2015 and 2017. This is a nice in-between figure to try and figure out.
Over/Under Vikings players with 1,000+ yards receiving in 2018: 1.5
Adam Thielen was close to 1,250 yards in the first 1,000+ season in his career. Stefon Diggs nearly cracked 850 and Kyle Rudolph was just over 500. If you’re taking the over, you’re also taking the above passing yards, and you believe Diggs is just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of.
Over/Under Cousins interceptions in 2018: 11.5
He’s had 12, 12 and 13 in his last three seasons, and like all quarterbacks, he’s at his best when he’s not having to avoid massive defenders trying to inflict pain on him. He should be well insulated in the Vikings’ pocket, but he does possess a little gunslinger mentality in him, which is why this line stays right around that mark.
Over/Under Cousins games started in 2018: 14.5
This is more a bet on math than it is on anything else. Cousins has played the full 16-game slate for three years running. Do you know how many other starting quarterbacks can say that during that same stretch? Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith (who actually sat out end of year games in the last couple of seasons with the division locked up).
The injury bug will bite you. It always does. One minute we’re talking about how indestructible Andrew Luck is, the next minute, we’re wondering if he’ll even be able to throw a football with any kind of velocity, let alone play in an NFL game.
Over/Under Cousins completion percentage in 2018: 66.5
He was just under 70 per cent his first year as the full-time starter in Washington, followed up with 67 per cent the following year, and 64.3 per cent last year, which also coincided with major injury woes for his receiving corps. He shouldn’t have a problem breaking this current downward trend, it’s just a matter of high he can take it.
Over/Under 300+ yard passing games in 2018: 5.5
Last year, he had five games over the 300 mark, going for a high of 365 in a Week 3 dismantling of the Raiders. Maybe the better prop might be the other side of the spectrum – over/under for games under 200 yards passing. Cousins went below that mark four times. Four! I think there’d be plenty of action on that if you set the line at 2.5.
Over/Under NFL quarterbacks with more TD passes than Cousins in 2018: 6.5
Last year’s top 10:
- Russ Wilson (34)
- Carson Wentz (33)
- Tom Brady (32)
- Matt Stafford (29)
- Jared Goff (28)
- Ben Roethlisberger (28)
- Phil Rivers (28)
- Kirk Cousins (27)
- Alex Smith (26)
- Andy Dalton (25)
Couple of names threatening to recrack that list: Drew Brees, Derek Carr and Matt Ryan. Others wanting to make the leap: DeShaun Watson, Case Keenum, Dak Prescott and Jimmy G. There’s a glut of good QBs right now, while some all-time legends are still in the mix.
Over/Under NFL quarterbacks with more passing yards than Cousins in 2018: 6.5
Top 10 of 2017:
- Tom Brady (4,577)
- Phil Rivers (4,515)
- Matt Stafford (4,446)
- Drew Brees (4,334)
- Ben Roethlisberger (4,251)
- Matt Ryan (4,095)
- Kirk Cousins (4,093)
- Alex Smith (4,042)
- Russell Wilson (3,983)
- Jared Goff (3,804)
As mentioned, there are a lot of established stars that we’re so accustomed to seeing at the top of the charts, and there are some younger players pushing their way into that list. This is a bet on Cousins’ ability to improve, and some of the veteran stars on the top of this list eventually fading.
Over/Under NFC teams with more wins than Vikings in 2018: 2.5
You’re looking at division winners (Philly, LA Rams, New Orleans, Minnesota), and the other good teams that could, in theory, compile a great record but fall to second in their division. That includes San Francisco, Green Bay, Carolina and maybe Atlanta. The Vikings are good, they’re built to contend now, and anything less than a top three seed should be considered a disappointment.