Vikings’ Kirk Cousins Breaks Silence on Heated Sideline Talk With Kevin O’Connell

Kevin O'Connell & Kirk Cousins

Getty The Vikings are approaching a crossroads with Kirk Cousins playing some of his best football. But is it enough?

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is still finding his way six games into a new season with a new offensive scheme.

It hasn’t been pretty. Through six games last season, Cousins had thrown for 300 or more yards or three touchdowns in three games. He has yet to reach either of those marks yet.

But no matter.

The Vikings are off to a 5-1 start, the best of Cousins’ career, entering the bye week following a 24-16 road win over the Miami Dolphins on October 16 where Cousins completed 20-of-30 pass attempts for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

But amid what became a defensive struggle for most of the game where the Dolphins outgained the Vikings by over 200 yards, Cousins and head coach Kevin O’Connell had several “intense” back-and-forths on the sidelines. The veteran quarterback addressed the heated discussions in his postgame press conference, saying he expects there to be more moments like on Sunday down the road.

Kirk Cousins Encouraged by Kevin O’Connell’s Tough Love

During Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, Cousins came to the sideline and was furious approaching a conversation with O’Connell, who quickly cooled his quarterback down.

Asked about the discussion, Cousins didn’t deflect in his postgame press conference, where he bore much of the blame for the offense’s inefficiencies.

“I think we’re gonna have intense conversations,” Cousins said. “I mean I’m gonna try to give him my feedback and he’s going to give me his and I love when he coaches me hard and holds me to a high standard.

“I think it’s important too that we have these great conversations you know, Monday after the game, being able to talk through. It’s one thing to have a conversation coming off the field when I haven’t seen the tape yet, I don’t really know what I’m saying but now we have time to process it and look at it, those conversations I think are really valuable,” Cousins added. “That play-caller, quarterback dynamic is just always, you know, you’re trying to get in each other’s head more and more and more the longer you work together.”

The Vikings struggled to create explosive plays throughout the game, which left O’Connell preaching patience on the sidelines as the offense converted just 2-of-12 third downs.

“Yeah, I think there were times where the plays were there and we didn’t execute, so I’m walking to the sideline and saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to play better, we’ve got to play better,’ ” Cousins said. “Like that’s not a play design thing. Then other times plays just were getting stopped.”

Vikings Entering Bye Week in a Position to Improve

Minnesota has been afforded the opportunity to improve while riding a four-game winning streak into the bye week.

The Vikings’ win was another harsh reminder that the team has yet to put together a complete performance since a season-opening victory over the Green Bay Packers.

But while week-to-week has been spotty in several statistical areas, the one spot that the Vikings continue to shine in every week has also been the bane to the fan base’s blood pressure.

Situational football.

In 2021, the Vikings had a minus-73 point differential in the final four minutes of halves last season, by far the worst in the NFL, per CBS Sports. With two teams left to complete Week 6, Minnesota is the league’s best by the same metric — a plus-33 differential.

Making plays when they matter has been a boon to team morale, and ultimately O’Connell’s rapport with a roster of players he inherited just nine months ago.

That bodes well for the Vikings entering the bye week.

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