Kirk Cousins isn’t hiding from his shortcomings.
Cousins has caught quite a bit of flak early this season as the Vikings’ passing attack continues to struggle. Minnesota’s quarterback appeared to even take heat Sunday from one of his top targets as Adam Thielen aired out his frustration following an ugly loss to the Chicago Bears. The star wideout noted the Vikes won’t always be able to lean on the running game and “have to be able to hit the deep balls.”
Thielen on Tuesday made it clear he wasn’t trying to single out Cousins with his remarks, but the veteran signal-caller still knows he needs to step up his game.
“No, like he said, it’s reality,” Cousins said Tuesday, per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “I really want to apologize to him because there’s too many opportunities where we could have hit him on Sunday, and postgame when I talk to the media, I always say until I watch the film, it’s hard for me to really give you a straight answer. Well, now it’s Tuesday night. I’ve watched the film. And the reality is there were opportunities for him.”
The Vikings only are averaging 169 passing yards per game, the second-lowest mark in the league. This number, quite frankly, is unacceptable, as Minnesota features one of the league’s top WR duos in Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Cousins understands it’s on him to create opportunities for his playmakers.
“He’s shown — No. 19’s shown — that he will make that play, and he’ll probably finish that play in the end zone and pull away from the defender,” Cousins said. “Adam’s not just a really good player or one of the best players on the Vikings. He’s one of the best players in the NFL, one of the best players in the world, period, regardless of position. We want to, we need to — and when I saw ‘we,’ really I mean I need to — get him more opportunities, get him the football.
“There’s a couple as I go back and watch it, a dagger, a corner post, a fade throw in the end zone where I can make it easier on him, give him opportunities. Yes, was the Bears’ front seven really good? Yes. Did they make plays on the back end occasionally? Yes. But I didn’t help things with giving him more opportunities. If we run the ball successfully, if we run the ball more consistently, so be it. But when we do take our shots or we have our chances, we’ve got to hit them. The reality was I didn’t, we didn’t, and that’s where I think you’re frustrated after a game, and you’re looking to improve going into the next week.”
Luckily for Cousins and Co., a favorable matchup awaits as they aim to turn things around. The Vikings on Sunday will visit the New York Giants, who have been one of the worst teams at defending the pass this season. But if the offense once again looks anemic and/or one-sided, it might be time to start worrying in Minnesota.