Another week, another gutsy win for the Minnesota Vikings.
After jumping out to an 18-point lead late in the second quarter, the Vikings blew away the lead, allowing the Chicago Bears to score 19 points unanswered in the second half — a result of two failed field-goal attempts and a Kirk Cousins interception.
However, Cousins bounced back, leading the offense on a 17-play drive in the fourth quarter, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run where Cousins pushed the pile of linemen in front of him just enough to cross the goal line.
It was the final strike of a drive that was truly more than an 11-man effort to retake the lead.
And while the defense reveled in cornerback Cameron Dantzler stripping the ball away from former Vikings wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette to clinch a 29-22 win, Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith admitted the fanfare should fall more on the offense for its clutch performance on Sunday, October 9.
Harrison Smith Says Defense ‘Needs to Do More’ After Win Over Bears
In a locker room interview following the win over the Bears, Smith credited the offense for piecing together a scoring drive to clinch the game for a third time in as many weeks amid a three-game winning streak.
“The offense, whenever we needed it, they show up. We need to do more on the defensive side to help them out, where they don’t have to do that every game,” Smith said. “But it is pretty special what they’re doing.”
While the Vikings (4-1) haven’t gotten it done in pretty fashion, needing late-game dramatics in each of their past three wins, Smith added that it’s better to learn while winning — and Minnesota continues to believe its best football is ahead.
“If you can learn while you’re winning, that’s pretty awesome. It doesn’t happen all the time. I think that kind of shows you how good we can be. We’re just scratching the surface,” Smith said. “We need to get better but we’re going to savor these wins. They’re hard to come by. Look around the league every week. Stuff happens that you don’t think should happen. It’s just how it works.”
Kevin O’Connell, who is becoming a Coach of the Year candidate by boasting the best start to a Vikings coach’s career since Dennis Green in 1992, had a similar sentiment in his postgame press conference.
“Very hard-fought, tough football game. I thought across the board, our team continues to show levels of grit and resiliency that should bode well for us. Don’t necessarily think we found that four quarters of consistent ball that we’re looking for, but as we’ve learned, it’s not easy to do in the NFL against teams with different scheme variations and competitiveness,” O’Connell said. “That’s okay, but we’re still going to continue to work tirelessly to have that. But once again, very proud of the way Kirk [Cousins] battled until the end, leading us back once again to get the lead back in the fourth quarter of a game.”
Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson Break Vikings Records
The Vikings offense couldn’t have had a cleaner start to Sunday’s game against a tepid Bears defense.
Cousins completed all of his first 17 passes, setting a franchise record for most completions to start a game held previously by Tommy Kramer, who completed 16 straight passes in 1979.
Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson continues to reach new heights, surpassing Randy Moss for the most receptions in a Vikings player’s first three seasons (226) just five weeks into Year 3. He also posted his sixth 150-plus receiving yard game, securing 12 receptions for 154 yards on Sunday, joining Moss and Lance Alworth with six 150 or more receiving yard games in their first three years.