Vikings’ Kirk Cousins Stays Tight-Lipped on Critical Error vs. Lions

Kirk Cousins

Getty Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is on the final year of his current contract.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has the model of consistency and committing to the process for the rest of his team.

Cousins has been lauded for his diligence in studying film throughout the season while he’s continued to gain a grasp of a new offense.

But after reviewing the tape following the Vikings’ 34-23 loss to the Detroit Lions on December 11, Cousins has kept an iron curtain on what went wrong, protecting his teammates as they remain a game away from clinching a playoff berth.


Vikings’ Kirk Cousins Staying Tight-Lipped on Fumble vs. Lions

In a December 13 press conference, Cousins was asked about a pivotal play in the second quarter of his team’s loss to the Lions.

Facing first-and-goal on the Detroit 3-yard line, the Vikings had a clean slate of downs to try and get in the end zone and tie the game before halftime. Cousins pitched the ball back to Dalvin Cook, who chopped his feet approaching the line of scrimmage. Kevin O’Connell revealed that the play design called for Cook to throw the ball to tight end Johnny Mundt, who set a block before breaking free from the second level of defenders in the end zone.

Cook had never thrown a pass in a game in his career leading up to that moment, and while he waited for Mundt to break open, three Lions linemen broke through the offensive front and sacked him, forcing a fumble that led to a crucial turnover in the loss.

Rookie lineman Ed Ingram was tossed at the point of attack after overstretching on his block. Cook also took blame saying he needs to hold onto the ball.

But when Cousins was asked after the game how often they had practiced the play, he declined to say how often but that it went well in practice. Again on Wednesday, Cousins deflected any details into what went wrong in an act of support for his teammates.

“Tough play, Johnny [Mundt] was open there. The design was for Johnny to get behind the defense just like he did. It was just an unfortunate result on the play,” Cousins said.


Vikings Run Game Struggles Should End This Week

The loss to the Lions highlighted the Vikings’ struggles to run the ball effectively with left tackle Christian Darrisaw and center Garrett Bradbury out. Minnesota abandoned the run game in the second half with Cook seeing just two carries in the final two quarters. He finished the game with 15 carries for just 23 yards.

Their inability to gain meaningful rushing yards on early downs became evident drive-killers as the porous defense was stranded. That led to Detroit dominating time of possession while protecting a lead in the second half, holding the ball for 20:05 to the Vikings’ 9:53 time of possession. Both linemen are expected to return this week, with Darrisaw’s being vital to the team’s success.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis reported that the Vikings have averaged 4.67 yards per rush with Darrisaw, compared to just 2.88 without him. Minnesota also saw 37.5% of runs go for no gain or negative yards with the second-year tackle out.

 

 

“On Sunday, the Vikings running backs averaged -0.53 yards before contact, meaning that on average, Cook and Alexander Mattison were contacted by defenders 0.53 yards behind the line of scrimmage on their runs,” Lewis wrote. “How rare is that, you ask? Only three times this season have running backs been contacted farther behind the line of scrimmage: the Saints in Week 10, the Colts in Week 4 and the Browns in Week 11.”

Read More
,