Panthers Pro Bowl Pass Rusher Sends Vikings’ Kirk Cousins a Message

Kirk Cousins

Getty Kirk Cousins during a 2021 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

Kirk Cousins is off to one of the best starts of his career, leading the league with 1,074 yards passing and nine touchdown throws through three games.

A major piece of the Vikings quarterback’s success this season has been his exceptional accuracy when throwing the ball quickly. Cousins has completed 81.7% of his pass attempts when given 2.5 seconds or less to throw, per Pro Football Focus.

If Panthers Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Burns had any say, he’d encourage Cousins to hold onto the ball just a little longer.

“He gets rid of the ball really, really fast. That’s annoying,” Burns said in a locker room interview on Thursday ahead of a Week 4 matchup against the Vikings. “So if he’s watching this, bro, hold the ball.”

Kirk Cousins Has No Choice But to Get the Ball Out Quickly

The mold of the pocket passer is fading in the modern NFL which benefits from mobile quarterbacks that can create more time for themselves.

Cousins is not that, especially at the age of 35.

He’s attempted zero scrambles when facing pressure this season, which has led to the seventh-lowest time to throw under pressure (2.96 seconds) in the league. The pressure has come quickly at Cousins as he must resort to getting the ball out quickly or take the hit.

It’s been a fundamental part of Cousins’ passing style that won’t change despite some developments on the offensive front.

Vikings O-Line Shakeup to Benefit Kirk Cousins

Dalton Risner

Getty Dalton Risner on September 12, 2022 in Seattle.

The Vikings have kept their plans for newly signed offensive lineman Dalton Risner close to their chest since they signed him on September 20.

Risner took first-team reps this week and is expected to play on Sunday against the Panthers. But who he replaces remains a question.

“This week is another huge step for [Risner]. He’s absorbing things very well. We’re going to get him in there with the first group through practice and have a real calculated approach for reps of the whole interior group,” Kevin O’Connell said in a September 27 news conference.

Signs point to second-year guard Ed Ingram being replaced as he’s allowed the second-most pressures (13) by any guard this season and led the league in pressures as a rookie last year.

However, Minnesota hasn’t announced any decision, hinging the new starting five arrangement on Garrett Bradbury‘s return.

Bradbury was out with a back injury the past two weeks and is questionable on Sunday. Austin Schlottmann has been the fill-in for Bradbury so far this season, but there is the possibility that Risner could take the center spot for the time being.

Ingram also took snaps at center during training camp, suggesting he could slide to the center spot and vacate the right guard spot for Risner.

“With Garrett [Bradbury] coming back, should be up to his full allotment (of practice reps) but we’re still giving those guys, the backup center, some [reps] too. Whether it’s right or left guard we’ll see a rotation in practice. We’re going to, as a coaching staff, collectively decide the best five we can put out there and how our depth looks in the event we have to play a new combination of guys.”

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