After a rough start that drew immense criticism from seemingly all sides, Kirk Cousins appears to have found his groove.
Cousins went 24 of 34 for 337 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday while leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 42-30 victory against the Lions in Detroit. It marked his third straight dominant performance, following a 333-yard, four-touchdown showing last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and a 306-yard, two-touchdown day against the New York Giants two weeks ago — bringing him to nearly 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns with no turnovers in that timespan.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Cousins is now “playing the best I’ve seen” throughout his time in Minnesota.
“He’s playing very free right now,” Zimmer said, via USA Today. “He’s letting the ball loose. Even on some incompletions, he’s putting the ball in the right places.”
His past three weeks are in stark contrast of how he started the season, which generated harsh criticism both from around the league and inside his own locker room.
Cousins’ receivers slammed him early, including Adam Thielen — who lit him up after their rough loss against the Chicago Bears in Week 4. Former Eagles linebacker Zach Brown called Cousins the “weakest part” of their offense ahead of last week’s game, too — comments that clearly didn’t translate well.
That, though, is a thing of the past.
“He executed the game plan,” receiver Stefon Diggs, who had seven receptions for 142 yards on Sunday, said, via the Vikings. “He did everything he was supposed to do at the quarterback position. I know he gets a lot of crap, but he handles it really well, and he leads this team the best way he can.”
Cousins, however, isn’t taking much of the credit for his hot play.
It’s everyone around him — especially the run game which, thanks to Dalvin Cook, picked up 166 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday — that’s made Minnesota’s three-game win streak possible.
“I just felt like when the play calls were coming in, I was in agreement with them so many times, feeling like it was going to give us a great chance, and then we were running the ball proficiently,” Cousins said, via the Vikings. “And when you do that, I think it helps a play-caller and a quarterback feel like they have the wind at their back a little bit.”
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