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A TED Talk, Week 6

That was a great win. Not a good win, a great one.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Hi kids, how are things going today? Coming off a 38-20 win over Philadelphia and riding a two game winning streak, this is how I would have been walking into the TCO Performance Center if I were Kirk Cousins this morning:

Two weeks ago I said there wasn’t a player in the NFL who needed a good game more than Cousins did. After the Giants game, the consensus was ‘well, okay good game, but he still needs to beat a good team.’

Today, a lot of folks have been trying to paint the Eagles as either not a good team, or injury riddled, or minimize the importance of this game or this win by Cousins and the Vikings.

It was a huge win, period dot. That win now gives the Vikings a 54% chance to make the playoffs. A loss would have dropped postseason chances down to 30%.

Stop moving the goalposts. He has had two good games in a row, and he has the ability to string together a lot more. The constant bagging on Cousins, no matter how well he plays, is uncomfortable for me, and at this point it’s becoming embarrassing for you. I swear, it feels like there are people who want Cousins to be an utter failure in Minnesota just so they can say ‘I told you so’ or ‘Quarterback X was the right choice and not Kirk all along’.

Whatever. It feels like some people would complain if the Vikings won the Super Bowl 50-0.

Still, though...the Cousins detractors...and I have been one when it’s warranted...have a point, even if they do continue to move the goalposts whenever he seems to go against the grain of the narrative that’s been written about him.

Can he, and the Vikings, keep this up? I am a firm believer that something happened in that locker room after that ugly Bears loss two weeks ago. Whatever it was—a team meeting, a Come to Jesus one way conversation between key players, whatever—it seems to have worked, at least for now.

Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen have all been on the same page the last two weeks, the offense has been clicking, and the Vikings have gone from staring a lost season in the face to 4-2 with a huge opportunity to have some season-defining wins in the coming weeks.

Something seems to have flipped in Cousins, too. After the Bears game, he was the NFL’s whipping boy, and even after the Giants game, he was still called the weakest link by former Eagles LB Zach Brown. He claimed in the post game press conference he didn’t hear about until he was asked about it in a post game interview...but lol okay, whatever you say, Kirk. He also had this exchange in his press conference with local media after the game, which I found interesting:

Q: Since your apology to Thielen, you throw six touchdowns passes, beat the Giants, and now the Eagles. Did your approach change? Did you decide I have to do something to not lose this?

A. No. No. I had the same approach for five seasons, and I do the exact same thing. I’m going to have the same rhythm this week. Week to week, things change, and you just go back to work, and if anything what you don’t do is start to reinvent the wheel or change something that’s worked in the past. We missed Diggsy on that post at the end of the half. I thought about apologizing to him, but apparently that’s not the way to go around here. I guess my days of apologizing to people are over. I didn’t say a word to him, and I guess we came back to him in the second half.

If you watch the video, he was joking, but maybe it goes a little deeper. Maybe Kirk is done trying to please everyone, which he has been accused of doing in the past. Maybe he’s just going to be himself and play, and let it all hang out. The last two weeks have shown that the Vikings can effectively use the pass to set up the run, and after all the money the Vikings have invested at QB, WR, and TE, maybe they’ve finally realized that letting Cousins throw it to these guys is a smart strategy.

We’ll find out if this is a new ‘eff you’ or ‘you like that’ kind of Kirk or just a blip on the radar, as the Vikings have three of their next four games against Detroit, Dallas, and Kansas City.

Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.