EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings are still looking for their first win after two games of the 2021 season.
And while anyone on the team will tell you personal stats aren't the goal, Kirk Cousins' numbers through Week 2 have been strong.
Minnesota's quarterback is 58-of-81 (71.6 percent) passing for 595 yards, with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 112.9.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer spoke with Twin Cities media members Wednesday and lauded Cousins' performance to open 2021.
"I think he's taking real good care of the ball. I think he's done a good job of getting the ball to the right place," Zimmer said. "His leadership has been a lot better this year, just the way he's gone about his business and not just being to himself but being around the guys more. I think all those things are important."
Since Dec. 25, 2020, Cousins has attempted 162 passes without throwing an interception. That's tied with Randall Cunningham for the third-longest stretch by a Vikings QB. It trails 193 by Warren Moon and 201 by Cousins in 2019.
The Vikings host the Seahawks (1-1) at 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday in Minnesota's home opener. It will be Cousins' 50th regular-season start in Minnesota.
Cousins has positioned the offense for success in both games but particularly against the Cardinals Sunday afternoon. He got the ball out quickly and got the unit humming for a three-touchdown first half.
Running back Dalvin Cook said Cousins has been playing "lights-out football" for the team.
Cook specifically pointed to the fourth quarters in which Cousins led a game-tying drive in Week 1 and moved Minnesota to the Arizona 19-yard line in the waning seconds last Sunday.
"These past two games, it's been fun because in the fourth quarter we've had a chance to go win the game, or put ourselves in positions to do that," Cook said. "He's been dialed in. It's just fun going out there and competing with him because once you see him dialed in, you see some pretty good throws coming out of his hands – and I get the ball sometimes."
The running back smiled and commented on Cousins' recall of an expansive playbook in the huddle.
"I always say quarterback is a unique position because we've got some long plays, and he comes in the huddle and just fires them right away," Cook said. "It's different, especially in the heat of the moment.
"He's a special player," Cook added. "I love being around him. I just feel like he's been growing so much, and he's been growing in the backfield as far as communication and things like that."
Cousins also spoke to reporters Wednesday and credited the Vikings offense as a whole for making improvements over the first two contests.
"It's a 'we' thing," he noted.
"It's not me getting us down there," Cousins said. "It's [Offensive Coordinator Klint] Kubiak calling the plays, it's 11 guys doing their job play-in and play-out to get us down there, and that's the way it'll always be."
Cousins currently ranks in the NFL's top 10 of quarterbacks in passer rating (eighth) and completion percentage (10th), and he was tabbed by analytics site Pro Football Focus as the NFL's fourth-best quarterback entering Week 3.
View photos of Vikings players from practice on Sept. 22 at the TCO Performance Center.
Regardless of stats, Cousins isn't satisfied. But he also hasn't lost confidence in the team around him.
"We believe in our locker room and the group we have and what we're doing," Cousins said, "But the results are all that matters, and that's what we're measured by. So we understand in this league, winning and losing is really what it's all about, in terms of how you're measured. We've got to be able to win.
"You know, there's 15 games left in the regular season guaranteed to us, and that's a lot of football," he later added. "I'm excited about how much we have ahead of us to get this thing in the right direction."