Vikings

Kirk Cousins Still Owns Aaron Rodgers

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Following a Week 6 victory at Soldier Field last season, Aaron Rodgers went viral after he scored on a six-yard rush in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers was entirely justified in his proclamation from the Chicago Bears’ end zone. After all, the Green Bay Packers are 22-5 against the Bears with Rodgers as their starting quarterback. Rodgers has dominated Green Bay’s longtime rival to the tune of a 109.2 passer rating throughout his career — which just so happens to be the highest passer rating for Rodgers against any divisional opponent.

Unfortunately for Rodgers, history was made at his expense on Sunday afternoon inside US Bank Stadium.

For the first time in his NFL career, Rodgers lost to a team for the third-straight time that the same individual quarterbacked. The culprit responsible for this unexpected ownage is none other than Kirk Cousins. Going back to Week 7 of 2020, the Vikings have beaten Rodgers and the Packers three consecutive times with Cousins under the center. Green Bay’s most recent victory against Minnesota in Week 17 last season came when Cousins was inactive due to COVID-19.

In the three consecutive victories by Minnesota with Cousins over Green Bay and Rodgers, the quarterbacks stack up as such:

2020 Week 7 @ Green Bay (Minnesota wins 28-22)

  • Cousins
    • 11/14
    • 160 yards
    • 1 touchdown
    • 138.1 passer rating
  • Rodgers
    • 27/41
    • 291 yards
    • 3 touchdowns
    • 1 lost fumble
    • 110.9 passer rating

2021 Week 11 @ Minnesota (Vikings win 34-31)

  • Cousins
    • 24/35
    • 341 yards
    • 3 touchdowns
    • 128.4 passer rating
  • Rodgers
    • 23/33
    • 385 yards
    • 4 touchdowns
    • 148.4 passer rating

2022 Week 1 @ Minnesota (Vikings win 23-7)

  • Cousins
    • 23/32
    • 277 yards
    • 2 touchdowns
    • 118.9 passer rating
  • Rodgers
    • 22/34
    • 195 yards
    • 1 interception
    • 1 lost fumble
    • 67.6 passer rating

Totals over the past three contests between Cousins and Rodgers:

  • Cousins
    • 58/81
    • 778 yards
    • 6 touchdowns
    • 0 interceptions
    • 0 lost fumbles
    • 126.5 passer rating
    • Vikings are 3-0
  • Rodgers
    • 72/108
    • 871 yards
    • 7 touchdowns
    • 1 interception
    • 2 lost fumbles
    • 109.0 passer rating
    • Packers are 0-3

For all the talking that Rodgers has done about his career-long ownership of the Chicago Bears, he hasn’t had nearly as much to say recently about his success — or lack thereof — against the Minnesota Vikings.

Since Cousins signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2018, the Vikings are 4-3-1 against the Packers with Cousins as its starting quarterback. And across those eight games, Cousins has gone:

  • 171/255
  • 2,156 yards
  • 17 touchdowns
  • 5 interceptions
  • 1 lost fumble
  • 107.3 passer rating

For how critical folks are of Cousins — especially in the Land of 10,000 Lakes — it’s tough to ask for much more of its highly compensated quarterback against Minnesota’s most dreaded rival.

Cousins has shown time and time again that he is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the Quarterback King of the North. And his stellar play has helped the Vikings hold the edge in the win/loss column against the Packers over the past five seasons.

With Minnesota’s complete domination in all three phases over Green Bay on Sunday, expectations are beginning to skyrocket for the Vikings. Following the Week 1 victory, Minnesota currently holds the fourth-highest chance of winning the Super Bowl according to 538.com.

Justin Jefferson‘s emergence as the Best Wide Receiver on the Planet has certainly made life easier for Cousins. Just ask Rodgers how much he misses having the former Best Wide Receiver on the Planet Davante Adams. Since Jefferson entered the starting lineup in Week 3 of 2020, Cousins owns a 106.5 passer rating over the past 31 games. And Kevin O’Connell‘s scheme against the Packers showed that Cousins doesn’t necessarily have to be Superman to take a potentially significant step forward as an NFL quarterback.

For a vast majority of the afternoon, Minnesota’s offense was clicking on all cylinders in O’Connell’s debut against the Packers. The Vikings recorded the fifth-highest yards per play throughout the NFL in Week 1, all while spending most of the second half playing ball control and sustaining a double-digit lead.

After Week 1, Cousins holds the fourth-highest passer rating in the NFL behind Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Geno Smith. And with his consistent ability to be among the league leaders in passer rating over the past few years, it should be no surprise to see Cousins near the top of this list again in 2022.

Despite the recent trend of dismissing the importance of passer rating, of the 11 quarterbacks who recorded a 100-plus passer rating in Week 1, their teams went 9-2 on the week. Make no mistake about it, football is still the ultimate team game. But having efficient quarterback play is the easiest way to find success on Sundays.

Minnesota just might have a legitimate defense for the first time in three years after the show Ed Donatell’s unit put on against the Packers. If Cousins can not only maintain his level of efficiency but also take a sizeable leap with O’Connell, the sky is truly the limit for this Vikings team.

The football world will be watching when the Vikings travel to Philadelphia for their Week 2 matchup on Monday Night Football against the Eagles. If the Vikings waltz into Philly and win their third-straight Monday Night Football game with Cousins, the hype for this team will immediately go through the roof.

Buckle up, Skoldiers. This has all the makings of being an extremely memorable and wildly entertaining season.

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