Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins dimed 33 touchdowns to seven interceptions in 2021, a laudable statline, especially as his team encountered virtually no “garbage time.” Minnesota tied the NFL record for games decided by eight or fewer points last year.
Well, the 33-TD mark is just the beginning for Cousins, according to fantasy football guru Matthew Berry.
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Cousins’ career-high for passing touchdowns is 35, a total achieved in the 2020 season. The working theory by Berry is that Cousins can take his skillset to a new level with head coach Kevin O’Connell.
The Vikings terminated Cousins’ old coach, Mike Zimmer, in January after Minnesota missed the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. Indeed, everything was stale for the Vikings near the end of the 2021 season, forcing Minnesota’s ownership to make a change. The Vikings fired Zimmer and his boss Rick Spielman and hired O’Connell as head coach, with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah from the Cleveland Browns as general manager.
With Zimmer in charge last year — a defensive coach who advertised a run-first offense — Cousins was around the seventh-best quarterback in football, living in a statistical tier with Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott. And Cousins and Zimmer never quite embraced in the manner on display now between Cousins and O’Connell.
So, relating to the Matthew Berry theory of 40+ touchdowns, Cousins could be on tap for more production in a new system. Too, 40+ paydirts would help Cousins nibble at MVP candidacy for the first time in his career. At the moment, Cousins has +5000 odds to win the MVP award, per Vegas Insider — exact bedfellows with Cooper Kupp (WR, Rams), Jonathan Taylor (RB, Colts), Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Dolphins), and Mac Jones (QB, Patriots).
Cousins was recently classified as the 99th-best football player by his peers.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).