Kevin O'Connell: We always want Kirk Cousins to stay aggressive

At the end of the first half of Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to squeeze a pass into receiver K.J. Osborn at the goal line.

With the score at 10-10, Minnesota at least had a chance to take a three-point lead — if not go into the break up by a touchdown.

But Cousins' pass was intercepted by rookie safety Christian Izien, ending the threat.

While that throw didn't work out, head coach Kevin O'Connell said on Monday that he doesn't want to stop Cousins from being aggressive in those situations.

“I think it was a situation where he felt like, that’s not even half a click, that’s maybe a quarter of a click away from probably being a catch and then KJ’s got a chance to split two and maybe score,” O’Connell said in his press conference. “I think looking at it again, 13-yard line, where we were, it’s going to be a little tighter, things happen faster. That’s a play that Kirk has executed multiple times and he knows that he’s going to continue to stay aggressive in those moments. And [it’s] just an unfortunate outcome with how the defender, outside leverage defender kind of ended up, where that ball ended up with KJ trying to make a tough catch there.

“It was tough, it was a tough part of the football game when I look back on it, knowing where the momentum was at the time. We had hit Justin [Jefferson] on an explosive, we had hit another decent play down there to still having a couple of timeouts there and the ability to kind of manipulate the end of the half there. There’s no question that we would’ve loved to finish that drive with a touchdown, but always want him to be aggressive, play what he sees, and he did a lot of really good things yesterday as well to help us stay in the football game — despite the turnovers and the penalties being so favored critically against us.”

Cousins also lost two fumbles in the first quarter, finishing with three giveaways on the day.

The Vikings have to move past their season-opening loss to the Bucs quickly, as they’ll travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles on Thursday night this week.