By Jim Souhan
This is a quick post filed at the end of the game. My column will be online later and in the Monday Star Tribune.
However his season or the Vikings’ turns out, Kirk Cousins has proved something important in his first season as their quarterback:
He likes facing the Green Bay Packers.
Sunday night, Cousins outperformed Aaron Rodgers and led the Vikings to a 24-17 victory over Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium, perhaps burying the Packers’ playoff hopes.
In Week 2 at Green Bay, Cousins performed brilliantly in the fourth quarter, spearheading a comeback that led to a 29-29 tie. On Sunday, he overcame a slow start to shred the Packers’ young secondary. Enjoying as much time in the pocket as he has all season, Cousins completed 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Vikings knew they would face a season-defining stretch of four games after their bye. They lost at Chicago and have beaten Green Bay at home. Up next: Games at New England and Seattle, two of the toughest sites in the NFL.
The Vikings’ victory on Sunday improved Cousins’ career record in prime-time games to 5-12. The stat is telling, stinging, and perhaps deceptive. Cousins spent all but this season with a dysfunctional Washington franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005.
In his first season as an acknowledged franchise quarterback, Cousins is 1-0-1 against the Packers. This season that might not get his team much more than a consolation prize in the NFC North, but it has kept the Vikings in contention, and it may get Packers head coach Mike McCarthy fired.
The Packers are not a good football team. The Vikings get a chance, the next two weeks, to prove that they are.
You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com