Peyton Manning Speaks Glowingly of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: ‘This is Awesome’

Kirk Cousins and Peyton Manning

Getty Peyton Manning lauded Kirk Cousins in a recent film study.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has always been a case study on pocket presence — particularly for the wrong reasons.

Cousins has finished inside the top 10 quarterbacks for times sacked three of the past four seasons — in part to poor offensive line play, but also due to his decision-making to not get rid of the ball.

He’s since had a revelation this season, owning the second-lowest sack rate (3.6% per dropback) among all starting NFL quarterbacks, behind only Tom Brady (2.7%). Cousins has done so despite the Vikings offensive line performing mediocre at best, posting the sixth-lowest pass-block win rate (54%), per ESPN.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning recently broke down the Vikings’ game film from their 34-31 triumph over the Green Bay Packers from Week 11 and spoke glowingly of Cousins, showcasing Cousins’ improved pocket awareness that has flipped the script for the 33-year-old quarterback.

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‘This is Awesome’

After giving up a field goal to the Packers on the game’s opening drive, Cousins connected with Justin Jefferson for a 43-yard gain where he reset in the pocket twice and completed the throw as he was hit.

Manning lauded the play by Cousins in his film breakdown below.

“This is awesome,” Manning said. “His eyes are downfield the whole time. He does not one time look at the pass rush. He knows he has to get this ball off to Jefferson because Jefferson is open. He does just that makes a really accurate throw to get the Vikings into scoring territory.”

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That play helped the Vikings level the score with a field goal that gave the offense momentum early on.

Manning Calls Out Jefferson for Cousins Interception

Peyton Manning Analyzes Justin Jefferson & Kirk Cousins in Vikings’ Week 11 Win vs. Packers | DetailPeyton Manning Breaks Down Justin Jefferson’s & Kirk Cousins’ Film from the Minnesota Vikings win vs. the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 (2021) from “Detail.” My Twitter 👉 ____________________________________________________________ Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976: “Allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,…2021-12-09T12:00:21Z

Manning also highlighted a play where Jefferson, improvising on a route, didn’t cross the safety’s face, leading to an interception that was eventually called back due to roughing the passer penalty.

“You can’t fake in and then dip over the top. You’re going to mess up a quarterback every single time,” Manning said. “He’s still a young player. We all make mistakes. He’ll definitely learn from this one.”

Cousins and Jefferson reconciled the miscue quickly.  Cousins went back to Cousins later in the game on a similar route for a nine-yard touchdown that put the Vikings ahead by two possessions.

“You can tell he’s frustrated because he knows that ball shouldn’t have been intercepted,” Manning said of Cousins. “They talk about it and he comes back to Jefferson at a pivotal moment later in the game that tells you he has not lost trust in his receiver.”

Cousins Needs to Find Fire From Packers Performance

Cousins was at his most aggressive in Minnesota’s win over the Packers, completing 24-of-35 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns. He posted his highest quarterback rating (128.4) of the season and averaged a season-high 11.5 average yards per pass attempt.

Cousins finding his inner Case Keenum helped the Vikings pick up wins over the Packers and Los Angeles Chargers.

Despite Minnesota coming off a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s since regressed. Cousins posted his lowest quarterback rating (63.4) of the season after completing a season-low 45.1% of his passes and throwing two interceptions.

No Adam Thielen (out with a high-ankle sprain) in the lineup could have impacted Cousins’ comfort throwing to his receivers, while Dalvin Cook’s return made up for Cousins’ poor performance.

The Vikings’ versatility on offense has proven to be a strength of the team — one that could tilt its way back to leaning on Cousins against a Chicago Bears team that has held Cook to 62.8 rushing yards per game in his five career games against Chicago.

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