Tracking Kirk Cousins
We will track quarterback Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings’ signal caller.
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 129.5
Grade: 9 out of 10
Cousins played the type of measured and effective game against the Packers in a 24-17 victory on Sunday night that the Vikings had envisioned when signing him in free agency last spring. Cousins executed the offense with few errors, which required overcoming a slow start to complete all but nine of his 38 passes. When the ball was put into Cousins’ hands in the fourth quarter, he also helped ice the game by moving the chains on back-to-back third downs. The first, a 20-yard strike to receiver Adam Thielen, was a perfect ball that hit Thielen on an open corner route.
“Everyone contributed. We ran the ball when we had to, we converted third downs. Team effort.”
Clean game: A week after Cousins was battered in Chicago, he looked calm and decisive against the Packers’ lackluster pass rush. Even when the Packers blitzed, Cousins countered. He read a cornerback blitz in the second quarter and threw into the open area, leading Diggs to move the chains on third down. The next play was Diggs’ 30-yard touchdown. Cousins also found the open man while on the run. He scrambled on a play-action bootleg in the third quarter and found Thielen for a 14-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 10-point lead. Cousins even had a little luck on his side. His pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph was tipped in the first quarter, but Rudolph still caught it for a 17-yard gain.
Slow starts: There wasn’t much to criticize about Cousins’ performance. Perhaps the main thing the Vikings will look to improve is starting better in the first and third quarters. The Vikings offense went three-and-out on series to start each half. In the third quarter, Cousins couldn’t find a target and ran for 1 yard on the failed third-and-7 play. He also had a miscommunication with receiver Aldrick Robinson that led to another three-and-out series in the first quarter.
Rudolph tied his season high with seven catches. Running back Cook had his most receiving yards (47) since the Week 2 tie in Green Bay. And star receivers Diggs and Thielen continued to dominate as Cousins exemplified the type of ball distribution the Vikings should want every week. It’s the first time Diggs, Thielen and Rudolph each had at least seven catches since the Vikings’ last game against the Packers on Sept. 16. No other Vikings player was targeted more than three times. Coordinator John DeFilippo should feel good about the way his plan played out on Sunday night.