In 2018 Kirk Cousins had a respectable first season with the Minnesota Vikings, but turnovers degraded an otherwise good season. There were multiple reasons that the Vikings offense was underwhelming last season. Cousins wasn’t the primary problem, but his turnovers were one of several problems the Vikings offense had.
Kirk Cousins: More wins with fewer turnovers
Cousins showed the ability to sling the football around the field when given a clean pocket to throw from. Unfortunately, the Vikings didn’t have much of an offensive line in front of him, perhaps one of the worst in the league. Having a bad offensive line doesn’t excuse the turnovers, including 10 interceptions and six fumbles lost. Four of the 16 turnovers were returned for touchdowns.
The offensive line was subpar in 2018, no doubt about that but Cousins needs to have better pocket awareness. There were several quarterbacks in the NFL that had as much or less time to throw this season as Cousins did. Few quarterbacks had as many turnovers or back-breaking pick-sixes or fumbles returned for touchdowns.
Cousins was an upgrade over Case Keenum from 2017. There are several areas on the offense where improvement is needed like offensive coordinator, a third wide receiver, and offensive line. The Vikings have upgraded (or so we think at this point) the offensive line by drafting Garrett Bradbury and signing Josh Kline. They also promoted Kevin Stefanski to full-time offensive coordinator and added Gary Kubiak as what seems to amount to “head coach-offense”. The only position of need not upgraded on offense was the third wide receiver spot. They drafted tight end Irv Smith to give Cousins another receiving weapon but rookie tight ends typically aren’t very productive.
So the only thing left unaddressed is how Cousins can help the team by improving. It’s simple. Fewer turnovers and fewer of them that result in touchdowns. It’s not all his fault that these turnovers happened but some of them are his fault. If he can cut the fumbles back to half or less and have fewer interceptions result in touchdowns it can make a huge difference in the win/loss column. Those 24 points off of turnovers could be the difference in winning a couple of extra games in 2019. With an upgraded offensive line and better scheme, it should make the task easier for Cousins going into 2019.