The Minnesota Vikings sauntered confidently into Lincoln Financial Field on Monday for a showdown with the Eagles. However, their previously earned swagger had been significantly diminished by the time they departed a few short hours later.
An offense that sliced and diced the Green Bay Packers to the tune of pretty much whatever it wanted just eight days before never got off the ground in Philly, as the Vikings produced just one touchdown compared with three interceptions.
Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who authored arguably the most spectacular stat line of Week 1 across the entire NFL, made just six catches for 48 yards against the Eagles. He spoke to his personal disappointment, as well as the team’s, following the 24-7 loss.
“The most frustrating thing is just losing,” Jefferson said. “I mean, of course we [wanted] to come into this game and just dominate, especially after last week’s performance. But we definitely had plenty of opportunities to score the ball and make something happen.”
Jefferson Shoulders Responsibility For Cousins’ First Interception
Quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ struggles under the spotlight continued in Philly, as his record in Monday Night Football games fell to an abysmal to 2-10 mark following a loss in which he registered just a 51.1 rating and an abysmal QBR of 17.5, per ESPN.
Cousins was just 27 of 46 passing for 221 yards and three interceptions against the Eagles, each one more baffling and frustrating than the last. However, Jefferson stepped up and took responsibility for the first turnover of the night. The play came in the end zone during the opening drive of the second half on a pass Cousins intended for the All Pro wide receiver.
“That’s honestly on me. I’ll take that one,” Jefferson said. “I’ve got to be flatter if [Darius] Slay is going to sit on that type of route. I’ve got to come flatter and be in front of [Slay] instead of going behind him.”
Slay picked off Cousins a second time, roughly halfway through the fourth quarter, on another pass intended for Jefferson, though there was little the wideout could have done to prevent that result.
Vikings’ HC O’Connell Blames Himself For Cousins’ Miserable Night
I thought Kirk battled tonight. [We] put him in some tough spots. Our overall offensive philosophy when we do not succeed in activating [third-down conversions and efficiency], it puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback.
I do mean it. I do feel like this one’s on me. I told our team that I’m going to work like crazy to make sure that this does not happen again. I have no doubt that we’ll be prepared and ready to respond.
While Jefferson’s and O’Connell’s efforts to share the blame and protect the franchise quarterback are admirable, Cousins was responsible for making a handful of dangerous and confounding decisions that will continue to hurt Minnesota until he adjusts.
The Vikings (1-1) return to the gridiron on Sunday, September 25, for a home contest against an apparently improved Detroit Lions (1-1) squad at noon Central Standard Time.