The biggest point of controversy came at the end of the second quarter.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 2, 2022
The play gave the Vikings the ball at the Saints 20 yard line with three time-outs and 56 seconds left on the clock. What happened next was flabbergasting at best.
The first play was a throw to Justin Jefferson into the flat off jet-action to let him create after the catch. A safe, yet potentially explosive play. It got no gain due to a nice play by second-year cornerback Paulson Adebo.
They snapped the next play with 22 seconds left. How can you let that much time come off the clock with only 20 yards to go and a loaded offense? The answer could be quite a few things but the thought process was conservative and disappointing.
The second play was a check down into the flat that fell incomplete and after a false start by Brian O’Neill, Cousins completed a pass to Irv Smith Jr. for seven yards leading to a field goal with just three seconds left.
There are two likely scenarios as to why O’Connell wasn’t more aggressive in this spot: he is conservative like the guy he replaced in Mike Zimmer or O’Connell didn’t trust Cousins after he threw an interception at the end of the first quarter. The latter is the likely scenario.
After Cousins throws an interception where he is aggressive, he tends to go into a really conservative state. Sunday’s game was no different. He turned it up once the Saints took the lead but that gap between the interception and the final two drives left a lot to be desired, including a sure touchdown to Justin Jefferson on a 3rd and goal where he took a one-yard check down to Adam Thielen instead.
Is this a cause for concern yet? I wouldn’t go that far. It’s tough for a new coach to get everything right immediately. This is something that deserves monitoring moving forward, as it can be come a big issue down the line.