Mike Zimmer: Kirk Cousins is “playing fast”

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins hasn’t had a turnover since an accurately-thrown pass bounced off the hands and face of receiver Stefon Diggs and into the awaiting arms of then-Eagles (now-Vikings) safety Andrew Sendejo.

Cousins has credited the offensive line for the longest stretch of his career — four-plus games — without a turnover. Does coach Mike Zimmer agree with that?

“Well, it has a lot to do with it,” Zimmer told repoters on Monday, “but there was a lot of times that he did a great job of getting the ball out, too. He got hit quite a few times last night. I’m not calling out the offensive line. He got hit a bunch of times last night, and there was times that he had to get the ball out quick, and I thought he did that well. In each part of the passing game, you got some maximum protection things, you got some seven-man protections, some six-man and some five-man protections. It’s important that when you get these fives and six -ans and you’re getting extra pressure, to get the ball out, like they did a lot last night.”

Zimmer also said that Cousins is “playing fast” and “[m]aking good decisions” with the ball.

For the year, Cousins now has 18 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. But for the Diggs-to-Sendejo carom in Week Six, Cousins’ only other interceptions came against the Packers, including a very bad decision made by throwing the ball into double coverage in the end zone on a first-and-goal play with the game on the line. He also lost a fumble in that game, and another one two weeks later at Chicago.

But for those lapses, Cousins has had a stellar second season in Minnesota. His passer rating for the season remains north of 110, he’s completing nearly 72 percent of throws, and he’s averaging 8.6 yards per pass.

Still, challenges remain. The Broncos and coach Vic Fangio — whose defense contributed to a Bears sweep of Cousins and the Vikings in 2018 — come to town on Sunday. Then, after the bye, it’s at Seattle, Detroit, at the Chargers, Green Bay, and Chicago to end the regular season. Which will determine whether the Vikings make the playoffs and, if so, their position on the playoff tree.

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