CHICAGO -- Hello from Soldier Field where the tarp is coming off the field after intermittent rain Sunday morning.
A friend asked me for my thoughts about the Vikings-Bears game today and I said this feels like a "Kirk Cousins game."
Defining "big games" is open to interpretation, but this one feels like it belongs in that category. Two good teams. Division game. Two terrific defenses.
My colleague Andrew Krammer wrote a piece this week about the Vikings' struggles and often bizarre trips to Soldier Field since 2001.
In today's game-day advance, colleague Ben Goessling took a deep-dive look at the run-pass balance from a historical perspective as it relates to the Vikings' emphasis on the running game.
The Vikings running game behind Dalvin Cook has been masterful the first three games. Maybe that continues today, but odds are the Bears defense will at least slow down the ground game, although that task becomes more difficult if star defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is unable to play because of a knee injury.
That's why I called this a Kirk Cousins game. Lopsided scores in two of the first three games allowed him to basically serve as a game manager. He didn't have to do a whole lot. We all know what happened in the other game, at Green Bay.
The narrative surrounding Cousins' performance in big games is well-established. He owns a 5-26 career record against teams with a winning record. He needs to play well in a big game to ease concerns about his ability to flourish in big moments. Moments like Sunday on the road against one of the NFL's best defenses.