Kirk Cousins earned Daron Payne’s respect Sunday’s game

Daron Payne came to Washington in the 2018 NFL draft as the No. 13 overall pick. By the time Payne arrived, Kirk Cousins was gone. Cousins, who had spent six seasons in Washington, including his final three years as the full-time starting quarterback, left after he and former team president Bruce Allen couldn’t agree on contract terms.

On Sunday, Cousins returned to Washington for the first time as an opponent, leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 20-17 win over the Commanders.

Cousins didn’t play his best game. He completed 22 of 40 passes for 265 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Part of the reason for Cousins’ struggles at times, was Washington’s relentless pressure. Cousins was hit 11 times, sacked twice and hurried 18 times.

Yet, when it mattered the most, Cousins led the Vikings on multiple scoring drives in the fourth quarter to lead Minnesota to the comeback.

After the game, Cousins reflected on his time with Washington and how thankful and appreciative he was for that time.

In the other locker room, Payne was asked about Cousins’ performance, praising the former Washington quarterback.

“I mean if you can stand in that and take them hits like that and get the ball downfield I commend you for being tough like that,” Payne said. 

Payne is right. Cousins is tough and durable. The Commanders even knocked him out for a play, but he came right back in and delivered.

Cousins couldn’t have scripted a better return to his former stomping grounds, even though he said there were no hard feelings between the two sides.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire