Asked about Justin Jefferson‘s MVP candidacy following a nine-catch, 186-yard, two-touchdown performance, Cousins broke character for a moment before quickly putting MVP conversations to rest with the season still young.
“Yes, they were,” Cousins said, acknowledging fans chanting “MVP” in regard to Jefferson.
“So he is an MVP candidate?” Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press replied.
“If they made the decision after Week 1, I’d think he’d have to be in the conversation. There’s a lot of weeks left, Chris. We’re going to do this a lot more, you and me…,” Cousins replied.
It was a candid moment from the veteran quarterback who has maintained a message of consistency toward Jefferson since the third-year star receiver arrived in the league.
However, Jefferson’s time may be on the horizon, evidenced by Cousins’ grin.
Kirk Cousins Praises Justin Jefferson’s Ability to Finish
Live footage from NFL films captured a candid moment between Cousins and Jefferson that’s emblematic of their relationship over the past three seasons.
Jefferson asked Cousins,” You like that one,” after he took a catch from the Packers’ 19-yard line to the end zone, stepping around one defender and diving through another to push Minnesota’s lead to 17 points before halftime.
“What I really like is the finish, man. Not a lot of guys would be able to make that six points,” Cousins replied on the sidelines. “You just get us off the field man, great job finishing.”
Kirk Cousins is the Same Guy on the Field and at the Podium
Speaking in his press conference after the game, Cousins elaborated on the conversation he had with Jefferson.
“I just wanted to affirm him on what he’s done since 2020, among other things, there is a specific trait that I think is special, and it’s the ability to finish plays. I don’t know if you remember he caught what I call a hang route out Week 3 against the Titans 2020. He’s got two guys still there to make a tackle and he runs by both of them and scores a touchdown. Might have been the first touchdown of his career. Made the point after that. We said, JJ, a lot of guys get tackled on the 6 and we’re not running out our red zone plays and hoping and praying we get in, but managed to kick a field goal,” Cousins said.
“To just finish it there and don’t leave it up for debate is big time. I just said, once again, JJ, on that play today, a lot guys go out at the three or get to the one. I said the fact that you got in and got us six and don’t have to mess around with bringing out the goal line offense, or whatever it may be, that’s elite, and it makes a difference for our team winning football teams if we’re making touchdowns and not kicking field goals. So I said, I just want to affirm that, and that’s one of the things that makes you a great football player.”
Of the many skills Jefferson excels at, Cousins pointing at the young receiver’s ability to finish and gain more ground after the catch is credit that goes beyond the guy throwing him the ball.
And if they can continue to stack more performances like last Sunday, the Vikings duo will have to be at the center of MVP conversations around the league.