EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins will enter his ninth pro season and third in Minnesota with a contract extension and his highest career ranking in the Top 100 Players of 2020.
NFL Network announced Monday that the quarterback landed at No. 58, less than an hour after Minnesota safety Harrison Smith was listed at No. 64, in results that are determined by player votes.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, announced at No. 83 on Sunday, was the first of five total Vikings players in this year's list.
Efficiency, accuracy and notching his first playoff victory as a starting QB helped Cousins climb 20 spots from his 2019 ranking.
Cousins tied four other quarterbacks in the NFL for the most games last season with a passer rating of 100 or greater, reaching the threshold in nine games. He finished with a 107.4 passer rating that ranked fourth among qualifiers in 2019 and is the second-highest by a Vikings QB ever (Daunte Culpepper, 110.9 in 2004).
The Michigan State product also set an NFL single-season record for most games in a season (five) with a completion percentage of 80.0 or higher.
Former teammate Xavier Rhodes, who signed with Indianapolis this offseason, and Darius Slay, who was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia in March, each spoke to Cousins' ability to thread tight needles.
"Kirk, man, he's accurate. He can just drop the ball where nobody can get to it," Rhodes said. "You give him that time, that space, that good route, he's going to drop it where it needs to be."
Slay recalled a throw by Cousins to Stefon Diggs "that was probably the best throw I've seen that was on me in my life." Diggs was revealed at No. 54 later during the episode.
"I was riding the route so good, but he found a way to put the ball out of bounds, for only Diggs to reach it," Slay said. "I said, 'Gosh, ya'll just did that on me right there. That was a perfect play.' "
Cousins led the Vikings on a crisp game-winning drive to open overtime against the Saints in the Wild Card round on Jan. 5. He was 4-of-5 passing for 63 yards on the walk-off possession, connecting with Adam Thielen on a 43-yarder to the New Orleans 2-yard line. Three plays later, he precision passed a fade to Kyle Rudolph in the end zone on a 4-yard touchdown to silence the Superdome.
Thielen and Dalvin Cook described what they've learned about Cousins' demeanor.
"On game day, he's in a different mindset," Thielen said. "He's just going out there and he doesn't care what people say or think about him, he's just going out there and playing ball."
Added Cook: "He was dialed-in, man. That throw he made to Thielen in overtime, that's big-time. You saw it in his eyes, that he wanted to win the game, the details to how he honed-in and silenced the crowd, silenced the doubters to prove everybody wrong. I think he's been doing that all of his career."
The Top 100 list began in 2011, and Cousins has made it in each of the past four seasons.
With Washington, he debuted in 2016 at No. 85 and vaulted to No. 70 in 2017.
He then signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2018 and entered his first season as a Viking at 94.
View the top photos of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins from the 2019 season.
After throwing for more than 4,000 yards for a fourth consecutive season and a career-high 30 touchdowns in 2018, Cousins entered last season at 78.
In March, the Vikings signed Cousins to a contract extension prior to the quarterback entering his final season of a three-year deal.
The countdown continues on NFL Network Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (CT) with players 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11 revealed over the course of three, one-hour episodes.
The listing of the players in the 60-51 grouping were as follows:
60. Logan Ryan, CB, Free Agent (played for Tennessee in 2019)
59. Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Cleveland
57. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay
56. DeForest Buckner, DT, Indianapolis (traded by San Francisco in March)
55. Zack Martin, G, Dallas
54. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo (traded by Minnesota in March)
53. Marcus Peters, CB, Baltimore (traded by Los Angeles Rams last October)
52. Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City
51. Todd Gurley II, RB, Atlanta (released by Los Angeles Rams in March and signed by Falcons in April)