Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Gets Brutally Honest About Kirk Cousins in Cowboys Loss

Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins

Getty Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson came to the defense of Kirk Cousins after an embarrassing loss to the Cowboys on November 20, 2022.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson rarely looked back and found Kirk Cousins upright last Sunday.

The Vikings quarterback rarely had time to breathe against the Dallas Cowboys‘ vaunted pass rush. He was sacked a career-high seven times and was running for his life, leading to an unproductive 18.3 yards per drive. The offense failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season in what Jefferson called an “embarrassing” 40-3 loss to Dallas.

The star receiver spoke out on the loss and his wish that the Vikings had made more adjustments to the offense before the game got out of hand.

Justin Jefferson Wishes Vikings Had Helped Kirk Cousins, Offense More

In a November 21 press conference, Jefferson addressed the offense’s struggles to build any momentum with Cousins facing the most productive pass rush in the league.

After left tackle Christian Darrisaw was knocked out of the game with concussion symptoms in the first half, the floodgates opened for Dallas’ defense. The Cowboys pressured Cousins on 60% of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus.

It became a glaring issue as the Vikings receivers had barely developed their routes before Cousins was either flushed from the pocket or suffocated by the Cowboys pass rush.

“It’s tough. Kirk getting sacked before even getting out of the [route] break. But we just got to move towards more quick game, getting the ball out quicker, putting the ball in space and letting people work,” Jefferson said. “If things aren’t working out how we plan, we need to find a way to adjust and go toward something that will work better for us.”

With the deep passing game neutralized, Jefferson saw just five targets and caught three passes for 33 yards. And although he’s proven to be one of the NFL’s best deep-ball receivers, he’d prefer the offense had adjusted to shorter throws and creating gains elsewhere on the field.

“Of course, I wish we had adjusted faster throughout the game, of course, getting the ball out quicker, not letting Micah Parsons and their D-line get a chance to get back there to Kirk. There’s just things we have to learn from,” Jefferson added. “This is a new team. we’re all still learning each other. It’s just a lesson learned.”

Vikings Will Rebuild Offensive Identity on a Short Week

With Darrisaw ruled out for Thursday’s primetime matchup against the New England Patriots, the Vikings offensive front will be shorthanded against the league’s second-best pass-rushing core behind only the Cowboys.

But with only four days to prepare, don’t expect any wholesale changes to the offense. Establishing the running game will be head coach Kevin O’Connell’s M.O. — which he had hoped to do against Dallas until the Vikings got down early and had to continue to air the ball out.

The team has rallied around the idea of leaving the loss in the past and reveling in the fact they have a chance to prove their mettle on a short week at home.

“We definitely don’t like the way things turned out just losing by that much,” Jefferson said. “Just not having any energy in our stadium and not giving fans something to cheer about it is all tough, but it’s something we can fix.”

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