3 thoughts from Vikings season changing victory
The Minnesota Vikings shocked the football world with a 22-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, one of the NFL’s elite. It was one of the most complete all-around football games in recent Vikings memory regarding the offense and defense. There’s a lot of credit to go around, but here are three thoughts on what transpired on Monday Night.
Kirk Cousins played perhaps his best game in a Vikings uniform
On Monday Night, Kirk Cousins faced the same 49ers defense that made life miserable for Dak Prescott, showed why Daniel Jones isn’t worth the contract extension the Giants gave him, and got the best of Kenny Pickett and Matthew Stafford. And Cousins had to do this without the heart and soul of this Vikings offense: Justin Jefferson.
But, if there was still anything left from the narrative of Kirk Cousins can’t perform or win on Monday Night, it’s dead. Interception aside, it seemed like Cousins was out there playing with Jefferson, and heck, throw in Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Anthony Carter, and Ahmad Rashad.
Against the league’s No. 1 defense, Cousins finished the night going 35-46, 378 yards, and two scores to go along with an 80 QB and 107.2 rating. Behind an outstanding performance by the offensive line and the play-calling by Kevin O’Connell, Cousins was able to generate enough offensive juice with his decision-making and, at times, his mobility within the pocket.
One of his best plays of the night perhaps came on the Vikings’ last offensive possession, excluding the final kneel-down. Cousins, on this play, stepped up in the pocket on a third and three before hitting Jordan Addison across the sticks for a first down, keeping the drive alive.
Way to step up in the pocket and keep the drive alive. pic.twitter.com/t66ptJbe0W
— Jaden Lewis (@Jaden_Lewis29) October 24, 2023
A few plays earlier on the drive, Cousins faced pressure off of play action, but instead of panicking and throwing the ball away, he quickly set his feet before launching a laser to K.J Osborn, which set up a second and two rather than a second and 10.
It always seems like Kirk panics on these types of plays under pressure, but on this one, he’s money and delivers a strike to K.J Osborn. pic.twitter.com/ke1bWl1PCr
— Jaden Lewis (@Jaden_Lewis29) October 24, 2023
One of the reasons why it’s appealing that people want the Vikings to move off of Cousins is the fact that he, at times, has trouble generating these types of plays. That wasn’t the deal on Monday, as he looked like one of the better quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Speaking of Jordan Addison
It’s safe to say that Jordan Addison is officially a hit for the Vikings 2023 Draft Class. He stepped up in a big way in Jefferson’s absence, finishing with a career-high seven receptions for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Jordan Addison is a scoring machine! pic.twitter.com/e29jM0gucq
— vikesinsider (@vikesinsider) October 24, 2023
The second one is perhaps the most impressive before halftime. Considering the fact that Addison is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, him ripping the ball Charvarius Ward, who is an inch taller and nearly 20 pounds bigger, is insane and saved Cousins from another pick while being one of the games defining plays as it put the Vikings up nine going into the break.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 24, 2023
Jordan Addison said gimme that pic.twitter.com/puR1Ew7Hdp
— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) October 24, 2023
One thing was clear heading into the 2023 season, Jefferson needed a running mate, and every good team has had one. A.J Brown & DeVonta Smith (Philadelphia), Tyreek Hill & Jaylen Waddle (Miami), Brandon Aiyuk & Deebo Samuel (San Francisco), and before this year Ja’Marr Chase & Tee Higgins (Cincinnati). So far, Addison has risen to the occasion, with 400 yards on 29 receptions, while racking up some records, too.
Jordan Addison's 6 TDs in 2023 ties an NFL record for most receiving TDs by a rookie during the first seven games of a season in the Super Bowl era.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) October 24, 2023
The Vikings are back in this
After all the gloom and doom. The turnovers leading to four losses, the trade speculations, and the injury to Jefferson, the Minnesota Vikings are still in the playoff hunt. After Monday, the Vikings sit in eighth in the NFC standings, just behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have to travel to face the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings have to play a struggling Green Bay Packers team at Lambeau Field, meaning a win and a Buccs loss could have this team at .500 and in the current playoff picture.
Is the division still in play? Well, the Detroit Lions didn’t look like the No. 2 seed they currently are. As for the Vikings, the schedule lightens up with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, and Las Vegas Raiders on the horizon. They still also have to face the Lions twice before the season’s end.
It’s fun to look ahead, but let’s take care of business at Lambeau Field first.
Going to be up all night after watching this. pic.twitter.com/jdP8lJ3LsU
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 24, 2023