Quarterback Kirk Cousins deflected praise for his late-game heroics in Green Bay, but offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and Cousins’ Vikings teammates haven’t been so bashful this week.
In his first NFC North game, Cousins went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers, erased a 20-7 deficit in the fourth quarter and nearly won.
Cousins’ play, including big touchdown throws — a 75-yard bomb to Stefon Diggs and a 22-yard dart to Adam Thielen — “showed our whole team a lot from Kirk’s standpoint,” said DeFilippo, who said Thursday he also came away impressed by an under-the-radar throw in the second quarter.
On third-and-7, Cousins found Thielen for a 16-yard gain with Packers inside linebacker Blake Martinez in his face and outside linebacker Clay Matthews barreling down behind him.
“He stood in there, stepped and threw, knew he was going to get hit,” DeFilippo said. “I think that shows everybody, not only on our team, but the football world how tough a guy Kirk is.
“That’s not easy to do. Not every starter in the NFL can do what he did on that play.”
With a stat line of 425 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers, Cousins became just the fifth Vikings quarterback to throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns in a game — the first since Daunte Culpepper in 2004.
“The final product, you look back at it and say I felt like we did a lot of good things on offense,” Cousins said. “Also, you can break it up and say, I think we only had seven points entering the fourth quarter.
“So, that was something you could also look back and say we’d love to be more explosive throughout the game.”
Cook, the receiver
DeFilippo said when he first met Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, he told him “get ready to line up everywhere.” And so far, Cook has been a bigger factor in the Vikings’ passing game with 107 receiving yards to 78 rushing yards through two games.
Should Cook play Sunday through his hamstring injury, he could have room to run after the catch. In Week 2, Buffalo allowed Chargers running back Melvin Gordon six catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
“When I see running backs catch balls on teams we’re about to play,” Cook said, “that kind of lights my face up a little bit.”
Carlson ‘belongs’ in NFL
The Vikings looked around the kicker market this spring, but some free-agent options “signed big money other places,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. The road eventually led to rookie Daniel Carlson, who was released Monday after three missed field goals against the Packers.
“He felt like he let our team down,” Priefer said. “As I told him, obviously he didn’t mean to miss those kicks. He’s a fine young man, a fine kicker. He belongs in this league at some point. He just wasn’t quite ready for that situation.”
Griffen, Cook still held out
Defensive end Everson Griffen (knee) and Cook were two of four Vikings to remain sidelined during Thursday’s practice. The others were tight end David Morgan (knee) and punt returner Marcus Sherels (ribs).
Right tackle Rashod Hill (foot) returned and was limited in practice.
• Center Pat Elflein (ankle/shoulder) was again a full participant in Thursday’s practice, splitting snaps to Cousins with Brett Jones during the 15 minutes of practice open to reporters. “We’re ready for him to be back out there,” DeFilippo said.
• Ex-Vikings receiver Stacy Coley was claimed off waivers by the Giants, coached by former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.