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Kirk Cousins
refer to caption
Cousins with the Washington Redskins in 2015
No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1988-08-19) August 19, 1988 (age 29)
Barrington, Illinois
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 202 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school: Holland (MI) Christian
College: Michigan State
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 4 / Pick: 102
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2017
Passing attempts: 2,096
Passing completions: 1,372
Completion percentage: 65.5
TDINT: 99–55
Passing yards: 16,206
Passer rating: 93.7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Kirk Daniel Cousins (born August 19, 1988) is an American football quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Michigan State, where he was the Spartans' starter from 2009 to 2011, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Originally drafted as a backup to fellow rookie Robert Griffin III, he would occasionally appear in games, along with a few starts, during his first three seasons with the team. In the 2015 preseason, Cousins replaced an injured Griffin and remained the team's starter from then until the 2017 season.

During his time with the Redskins, he set numerous franchise records and appeared in the 2017 Pro Bowl. After two years of being unable to agree with the Redskins on a long-term deal, signing two franchise tags in the process, he signed a three-year, fully guaranteed US$84 million contract with the Vikings in 2018.

Early life[edit]

Cousins is the son of Don Cousins, a senior pastor at Discovery Church in Orlando, Florida,[1] and Maryann Cousins. He is the second of three children. Born in Barrington, Illinois,[2] Cousins attended Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan, where he starred in football, baseball (as a third baseman and a pitcher), and basketball for the Maroons athletic teams. He broke his ankle in his junior year and was forced to attend camps in order to make an impression with recruiting colleges.[3] Cousins finished his high school football career with 3,204 passing yards, 40 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.[4]

After high school, Cousins was set to sign with Toledo or Western Michigan, until Mark Dantonio became the head coach at Michigan State in 2007. After Dantonio failed to sign his top targets at quarterback, he offered a scholarship to Cousins, which he accepted. He also participated in Athletes in Action sports ministry. Cousins majored in kinesiology throughout his college career.[5]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Kirk Cousins
Holland, MI Holland Christian HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 4.80 Jan 19, 2007 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247SportsN/A
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: – (QB)   Rivals: – (QB), 27 (MI)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career[edit]

Cousins was redshirted for the 2007 season.[6] In 2008, he spent the season as the backup quarterback to Brian Hoyer. He played in five games passing for a total of 310 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.[7][8] In 2009, he competed for and won the starting quarterback job against teammate Keith Nichol. He led Michigan State to a 6–7 (4-4) season with 19 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and 2,680 passing yards in 12 games.[9] In 2010, he led Michigan State to an 11–2 (7-1) record and a share of the Big Ten Championship.[10] In 2011, his Michigan State Spartans went 11-3 (7-2) and played in the first ever Big Ten championship game.[11] Cousins was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches, and played his final game as a Michigan State Spartan on January 2, 2012 defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl.[12] His teams posted an undefeated 4-0 record against the in-state rival Michigan Wolverines.[13] Cousins won the 2011 Lowes's Senior CLASS Award.[14]

College statistics[edit]

Year Team GP Cmp Att Pct Yards TDs Int
2008 Michigan State 5 32 43 74.4 310 2 1
2009 Michigan State 13 198 328 60.4 2,680 19 9
2010 Michigan State 13 226 338 66.9 2,825 20 10
2011 Michigan State 14 267 419 63.7 3,316 25 10
Total 45 723 1,128 64.1 9,131 66 30

Professional career[edit]

Cousins at Redskins training camp in 2012
Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 2 58 in
(1.90 m)
214 lb
(97 kg)
31 34 in
(0.81 m)
9 78 in
(0.25 m)
4.93 s 4.50 s 7.05 s 28.5 in
(0.72 m)
9 ft 1 in
(2.77 m)
N/A reps
All values from the NFL Combine[15]

Washington Redskins[edit]

2012 season[edit]

Cousins was selected by the Washington Redskins as the seventh choice in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, making him the 102nd draft pick overall.[16] The pick surprised many analysts, as the Redskins had drafted 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick to be their franchise quarterback. The Redskins acquired the Griffin III pick by giving the St. Louis Rams four high-value draft picks over three years.[17] Cousins was viewed as an insurance policy in case Griffin was injured, with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan saying "You're one or two plays away from being the starter...And if I see that value out there on the third day of the draft, I'm going to take that."[18] The Redskins drafting Griffin and Cousins in the same draft echoed the team's strategy in the 1994 NFL draft, when the team drafted Heath Shuler with the third overall pick and later drafted Gus Frerotte in the seventh round. Cousins officially signed a four-year contract with the Redskins on May 31, 2012.[19]

In the second game of the preseason against the Chicago Bears, Cousins threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, though the Bears would go on to win 33–31.[20] In the fourth and final game of preseason, against Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cousins completed 15 of 27 passes for 222 yards as the Redskins won 30–3. He was named the backup quarterback over incumbent starter Rex Grossman.

Cousins made his regular season debut in the third quarter of a Week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons after Griffin suffered a concussion. Cousins threw his first career touchdown pass on a 77-yard pass to Santana Moss, but threw two interceptions in the last two series of the game while trying to tie the game.[21]

His second NFL appearance came in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens. On the final drive of the game, with the Redskins down 8, Griffin suffered a knee injury. Cousins went 2-2 and finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon with 29 seconds remaining, to bring the Redskins within 2 points of the Ravens. On the two-point conversion, Shanahan called for a run/pass option, and Cousins scored on a quarterback draw to tie the game at 28. In overtime, rookie cornerback Richard Crawford gave the Redskins excellent field position after a 64-yard punt return, setting up a game-winning field goal.[22]

The following week, on December 15, 2012, Cousins was announced as the Redskins starter for the Week 15 game against the Cleveland Browns, marking his first career start.[23] After a slow first half, Cousins rallied the offense to a 28-point second act. Cousins finished the day 26-of-37 for 329 yards with 2 touchdown passes, bringing the Washington Redskins a 38-21 win.[24][25] Later that week, Cousins was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week, becoming the third Redskins rookie to receive the honor that season (after Griffin and Alfred Morris).[26] Overall in the 2012 regular season, Cousins appeared in three games with 466 passing yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.[27]

The Redskins' qualified for the 2012 playoffs with a 10–6 record.[28] In the Wild Card Round, they faced the Seattle Seahawks. In the 24–14 loss, Cousins came into the game late in the fourth quarter in relief of an injured Griffin III. He finished the game 3-of-10 for 31 yards and was unable to rally the team to victory.[29]

2013 season[edit]

On December 11, 2013, Cousins was named starting quarterback for the rest of the 2013 season after Shanahan deactivated Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season in order to protect him for the following year, with Rex Grossman as Cousins's backup.[30][31] In a Week 15 27–26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he finished 29-of-45 for 381 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.[32] Cousins appeared in 5 games and recorded 854 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.[33]

2014 season[edit]

On February 2, 2014, it was reported that Cousins had stated that he was open to a trade from the Redskins.[34]

In March, Cousins announced that he would be giving number 12 to new teammate wide receiver Andre Roberts, for the price of a $12,000 donation to the Kirk Cousins Football Camp. Cousins then switched over to number 8, a number he wore throughout his high school and college career.[35]

During Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cousins came in relief of Griffin who left the game with a dislocated ankle. Cousins finished the game with 250 passing yards and two touchdowns in a 41–10 victory.[36] In Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cousins started the game and threw for 427 yards, the first game he had over 400 passing yards. Washington still lost an ensuing slugfest to the Eagles 34–37.[37] In Week 4 against the New York Giants, Cousins had a poor showing, throwing for one touchdown with four interceptions and a lost fumble.[38] The Redskins were blown out 45–14 with a total of 6 turnovers.

In Week 5, against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, Cousins showed progress from the embarrassing loss to the Giants by throwing for two touchdowns without an interception, including a 68-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. Despite the solid performance from Cousins, the Redskins lost the game by a score of 27–17.[39] Following a poor performance in the first half in the Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans, he was benched at halftime in favor of backup quarterback Colt McCoy, and did not play in any more games for the remainder of the season.[40]

2015 season[edit]

Cousins after the comeback victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015

On August 31, 2015, Cousins was named the starter for the season over Robert Griffin III.[41] On October 4, Cousins led a 90-yard game-winning drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, his first since 2012, when he threw a touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon with under a minute left in the fourth quarter, winning the game 23–20.[42]

On October 25, Cousins helped lead the Redskins to their largest comeback win in franchise history. After being down 24–0 in the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, Cousins finished with 317 yards and four total touchdowns, three passing and one rushing, throwing the final touchdown pass to Jordan Reed in the final seconds of the game.[43] Cousins also tied a franchise record for completions in a game with 33, tying Jason Campbell, who did the same in 2007. When heading into the locker room after the game, Cousins was caught on camera shouting "You like that?!" to reporters, which later become a catchphrase used by Cousins, his teammates, and Redskin fans throughout the rest of the season.[44] Cousins and his brother Kyle applied to trademark the catchphrase later in the season, and began to sell T-shirts with the phrase to raise money for the International Justice Mission charitable organization.[45][46][47][48]

Against the New Orleans Saints on November 15, Cousins threw for a career-high four touchdowns, as well as posting a perfect passer rating of 158.3, making him the first Redskins quarterback since 1950 to do that with at least 20 attempts.[a][49][50] Against the Buffalo Bills on December 20, Cousins passed for four touchdowns, and ran for another in a Redskins victory, marking his second four touchdown passing game of the season.[51]

The following week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cousins took an ill-advised quarterback kneel inside the Eagles' redzone with six seconds left before halftime, running out the clock and forgoing any chance of adding upon the Redskins' lead.[52] Despite that, Cousins eventually passed for four touchdowns in the game, his second consecutive four touchdown performance and third overall on the season. The performance led to the Redskins victory over the Eagles with a score of 38–24, which allowed the team to win the NFC East division title for the first time since Griffin III did it in 2012.[53][54]

Cousins finished the 2015 season posting the highest completion percentage (74.7) in home games in NFL history, with a minimum of 100 attempts, leading the Redskins to a 6–2 record at home.[55] He also became the first Redskins quarterback since Sonny Jurgensen in 1970 to have at least four passing touchdowns in three or more games in one season.[56] Against the Dallas Cowboys on January 3, 2016, he set the Redskins' single-season passing yardage record with 4,166, passing Jay Schroeder who had 4,109 in 1986.[57] He also finished the season with 29 passing touchdowns, second in Redskins history behind Sonny Jurgensen who had 31 in 1967, while posting a league-leading completion percentage of 69.8%, second in team history behind Sammy Baugh who completed 70.3% of his passes in 1945.[57]

Against the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card playoff round on January 10, 2016, Cousins completed 29-of-46 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns, and was sacked six times and lost one fumble. The Redskins lost 35–18, ending their season.[58] He was ranked 85th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[59]

2016 season[edit]

Cousins was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the 2016 offseason, but the Redskins used the non-exclusive franchise tag on him on March 1, 2016. The tag acted as a one-year, $20 million contract, which prevented other teams in the league from signing him without giving up two first round draft picks to the Redskins.[60][61]

During the Week 8 International Series game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium, Cousins threw for a career-high 458 passing yards, as the game ended in a 27–27 tie.[62] As the game ended in a tie, it also marked the first time a game held in London went into overtime. In a Week 11 game against the Green Bay Packers, Cousins threw for 375 yards along with three touchdowns, earning him his third NFC Offensive Player of the Week award.[63] After the game, Cousins was caught on camera asking Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan "How you like me now?", which many in the media believed Cousins was addressing concerns about his potentially lucrative long-term contract with the team next season.[64] In a Thanksgiving Day loss against the Dallas Cowboys, Cousins completed 41 of 53 passes for 449 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, putting him second on the list of most passing yards in a Thanksgiving Day game in NFL history.[65] For his accomplishments in the month of November, Cousins won the NFC Offensive Player Of The Month award, his second time winning the award.[66][67] In Week 16 on Christmas Eve, against the Chicago Bears, Cousins had a career-high two rushing touchdowns in the 41–21 victory.[68] Despite missing the playoffs, Cousins lead the team to a winning record of 8-7-1, and finished the season with a career-high 4,917 passing yards, which was third in the NFL behind Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, breaking various personal and team records he had set the previous year.[69][70] Cousins' 67% completion percentage ranked No. 7 and his 45.7% deep ball completion percentage ranked No. 5 among NFL quarterbacks in 2016.[71]

Due to his performance in the season, Cousins was named to his first Pro Bowl, replacing Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who could not take in the part in the game because of the Falcons appearance in Super Bowl LI.[72] At the game, Cousins played throughout most of the second half, and notably forced a fumble on Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib after chasing him down the field after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter.[73] Cousins was also ranked 70th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[74]

2017 season[edit]

Again set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, Cousins and the team attempted to work out a long-term deal before the start of free agency, but could only come to an agreement on the exclusive franchise tag on February 28, 2017, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to be franchise tagged in consecutive years.[75] In a Week 3 victory over the Oakland Raiders on NBC Sunday Night Football, Cousins went 25-for-30 for a season-high 365 yards and three touchdowns, earning him his fourth NFC Offensive Player of the Week award of his career.[76][77] In Week 10, against the Minnesota Vikings, Cousins tied his single-game career-high with two rushing touchdowns in the 38–30 defeat.[78] Overall, in the 2017 season, Cousins and Redskins finished with a 7–9 record and missed the playoffs.[79] He finished the season 347-of-540 for 4,093 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.[80] The 2017 season marked his third consecutive season of passing for at least 4,000 yards. In addition to his passing totals, he rushed 49 times for 179 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

On March 15, 2018, Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings on a fully guaranteed three-year contract worth $84 million.[81]


Regular season[edit]

Year Team Games Passing Rushing Sacked Fumbles
G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sack Yds Fum Lost
2012 WAS 3 1 33 48 68.8 466 9.7 4 3 101.6 3 22 7.3 0 3 27 1 0
2013 WAS 5 3 81 155 52.3 854 5.5 4 7 58.4 4 14 3.5 0 5 32 3 2
2014 WAS 6 5 126 204 61.8 1,710 8.4 10 9 86.4 7 20 2.9 0 8 70 2 2
2015 WAS 16 16 379 543 69.8 4,166 7.7 29 11 101.6 26 48 1.8 5 26 186 9 3
2016 WAS 16 16 406 606 67.0 4,917 8.1 25 12 97.2 34 96 2.8 4 23 190 9 3
2017 WAS 16 16 347 540 64.3 4,093 7.6 27 13 93.9 49 179 3.7 4 38 320 13 5
Total 62 57 1,372 2,096 65.5 16,206 7.7 99 55 93.7 123 379 3.1 13 106 847 37 15


Year Team Games Passing Rushing
G GS Att Comp Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2012 WAS 1 0 10 3 30.0 31 3.1 0 0 40.0 1 0 0.0 0
2015 WAS 1 1 46 29 63.0 329 7.2 1 0 91.7 2 2 1.0 1
Total 2 1 56 32 57.1 360 6.4 1 0 82.4 3 2 0.7 1

Personal life[edit]

Cousins in 2016

Cousins married Julie Hampton on June 28, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia.[82] Cousins is a Christian.[83] During his time with the Redskins, Cousins earned the nickname "Captain Kirk" from the media for his presence as a leader, referencing a character from Star Trek.[84] Cousins also appeared in several commercials with Easterns Motors, a local D.C. used car dealership, with former Redskin teammates Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan.[85][86][87]


  1. ^ Robert Griffin III posted a perfect passer rating against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, but with only 15 attempts


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