Kirk Cousins wasn’t terrible in his first Minnesota Vikings season, but it felt that way.
Cousins didn’t play well against the best teams on the Vikings’ schedule last season, Minnesota struggled mightily against good teams, and the 2018 season ended with an 8-7-1 record and no postseason berth.
Of course Cousins, in the first year of a fully guaranteed $84 million deal, took a majority of the criticism. That goes with signing a contract that large.
The good news for the Vikings is Cousins’ second preseason started very well.
Kirk Cousins perfect on his one drive
Minnesota gave their starters some playing time against the New Orleans Saints in the preseason opener Friday night, unlike some other teams this week who sat their key veterans. It turned out to be a wise move.
The Vikings got some confidence and momentum in their short time on the field. Cousins hit Stefon Diggs for 13 yards to start the game, though it came back on a holding penalty. Cousins shook that off and went 4-for-4 on the drive, leading the Vikings to a touchdown.
Cousins hit Kyle Rudolph twice for 30 yards. Adam Thielen made a great catch for a 34-yard gain, though he had a touchdown taken off the board on a replay review. On the next play, Cousins hit rookie running back Alexander Mattison for a 1-yard touchdown off an effective play fake.
Then coach Mike Zimmer did the smart thing and got the starting offense out of the game. They left the first preseason game feeling pretty good.
Vikings start fast vs. Saints
One good preseason drive doesn’t mean Cousins is poised for a big season. It doesn’t even mean he’ll be good for the rest of the preseason.
But it was a strong start to the 2019 season. The Vikings have a new offensive approach, having fired coordinator John DeFilippo late last season. Expect a more run-focused approach in Minnesota. That means Cousins will need to be more efficient when he does throw it.
So far, so good. The preseason is mostly meaningless, but it still isn’t bad for the Vikings to see their offense clicking already.
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