The Vikings are set to take on a stretch of three playoff teams from 2019 over the next three weeks. This week they take on the Tennessee Titans at home, then travel to Houston to play the Texans and then travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on Sunday night football. That is a brutal stretch of games for a team that is playing some of its worst football during the Mike Zimmer era.
It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback when a team is struggling and there’s no question on whether or not Kirk Cousins has struggled thus far in 2020. Granted the team around him hasn't played well either, the Vikings quarterback hasn’t been what Vikings fans are so used to seeing.
Through two games Cousins is completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 372 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He had one of his best seasons of his career in 2019 with a rating of 107.4, but his rating so far in 2019 is at 61.9. Cousins’ rating took a big hit after his performance in Indianapolis where he finished the day with a rating of 15.9.
After winning his first career playoff game last season on top of putting together a great season, the Cousins of old has disappeared in 2020. He ranks dead last in terms of starting quarterbacks in rating, leads the league with four interceptions after only throwing six last year and has only thrown for 372 yards. To put that last stat into perspective, Justin Herbert just got his first career start for the Chargers and has already thrown for 311 yards.
Throughout his career Cousins has been historically good in terms of passer rating and completion percentage. Even with the negative numbers from the first two games, his career completion percentage is 66.8 with a rating of 96.2. In 2020 he is towards the bottom of the league in both of those categories.
Cousins said throughout the offseason that he needed to work on improved mobility and he showed that off against the Packers. He has shown at times that he can be mobile, but has still been sacked for a safety in back to back games. Improving in the pocket and becoming more mobile was something many fans wanted out of Cousins, but it hasn't proven to help him through the air so far in 2020.
There are certainly other areas where the Vikings have struggled through the first two games and they play a factor as well. The defense has struggled on all three levels, play calling has been questionable and the offensive line is still subpar at best. The excuses are out there, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the quarterback play has been extremely poor through the first two weeks of the season.
If the quarterback play continues to be bad for the remainder of the season the Vikings could find themselves in a position to draft one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are the clear cut one and two options, meaning the Vikings would likely need a top three draft pick to secure either of them.
It’s still way too early in the season to make that prediction, as the Vikings started 2-2 the year of the Minneapolis Miracle. Football is a weird game and stranger things have happened than an 0-2 team making a playoff run later that season.
Although it’s too early to throw the towel in on the season, things could still get much uglier before the sun rises again for the Vikings fan base.