Kirk Cousins' end-zone interception costs Vikings a chance to upend Packers

Kirk Cousins didn’t exactly live up to his historic contract during his first season in Minnesota.

After signing a three-year deal worth a record $84 million in guaranteed money, the Vikings quarterback led a team that finished 13-3 and won the NFC North without him the year before to an 8-7-1 record and out of the playoffs.

Cousins has rough day in Green Bay

His sophomore effort isn’t off to a great start. After leaning on the ground game to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, the Vikings opened up the passing game in Week 2 in a division test against the Green Bay Packers.

Cousins failed, completing 14-of-32 pass attempts for 230 yards, a touchdown, a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble in a 21-16 Green Bay win.

Cousins’ critical mistake

His second interception was a critical mistake, as he floated a ball off his back foot while under pressure into the back of the end zone on first and goal with a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.

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Packers cornerback Kevin King came down with what was essentially a jump ball. It was an unnecessary, panicked decision from Cousins on first down that squashed Minnesota’s last, best hope of pulling off a big road win over a division rival.

No response from Vikings with another chance

Minnesota’s defense stifled the Packers, forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing Green Bay possession. But the Vikings had no response after receiving a punt. They picked up three yards on three plays before punting the ball away with 3:24 remaining.

The Packers ran all but 13 seconds off the clock on their next possession, and Minnesota’s last-ditch desperation play from their own 20 ended in a fumbled lateral that secured a 2-0 start for the Packers.

Kirk Cousins had a disastrous day against the Packers. (AP)
Kirk Cousins had a disastrous day against the Packers. (AP)

Packers offense makes progress

Green Bay’s new offense under rookie head coach Matt LaFleur showed signs of life not seen in Week 1’s 10-3 victory over the Chicago Bears.

It wasn’t vintage Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But it was good enough against a staunch Vikings defense.

The Packers reeled off the first 21 points of the game in the first half and held on despite failing to score after halftime.

Aaron Jones tallied 116 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Davante Adams led the Packers with 106 receiving yards.

Green Bay off to 2-0 start in NFC North

And most importantly, the Packers are off to a 2-0 start with wins over their toughest division opponents.

The Vikings, meanwhile, drop to 1-1, having squandered a chance to take a late lead and potentially get a leg up in what looks like a highly competitive NFC North.

And until Cousins — who now falls to 4-26 as a starter against teams with winning records — proves it wasn’t a mistake, questions will continue to linger about the wisdom of signing him to his massive deal.

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