The Minnesota Vikings went into Lincoln Financial Field as slight underdogs on Monday Night. After the first few possessions, it was evident that they would struggle to stay in the game. Then, the second half came around, and Kirk Cousins went full Primetime Panic.
Throughout his career, Kirk Cousins has struggled heavily under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. He started with an 0-9 record before reeling off wins against the Chicago Bears on consecutive appearances. The momentum was quickly halted with his second-half performance on Monday against the Eagles.
On the evening, Cousins dropped back to throw 46 passes, completing 27 for 221 yards. His 4.8 yards per attempt was indicative of the constant amount of checkdowns, but then there was the questionable decision-making. He threw three interceptions on the night, two of which went to talented cornerback Darius Slay.
While the Eagles somehow scored just 24 points despite ample opportunity to add on, Cousins continued letting them off the hook with poorly timed miscues. Two interceptions happened in the end zone, and the fade to Justin Jefferson may have been the most egregious. Following a play where Cousins was nearly picked off on an underthrown fade due to pressure, he dialed up the same exact situation on the next dropback and made yet another bad throw.
The entirety of this loss was not on Minnesota’s quarterback. There was certainly plenty of blame to go around on Monday night. However, as long as Cousins eats up most of the salary cap for any team he quarterbacks, his performance should be scrutinized to another level. Cousins and crew looked great during a season-opening victory over the Green Bay Packers, but it may be worth questioning if their rival is as good as expected.
Almost every year, we see Cousins put up at least one of these dud performances. Expecting the Vikings to go undefeated would’ve been an unrealistic bar to clear, so the hope is that this is a game everyone can wash from their memory.
Going forward, Kevin O’Connell will need to demand more from his veteran quarterback, and there can’t be any question as to whether Cousins can rise to the occasion. Philadelphia is hardly the toughest opponent Minnesota will face this season, and the Vikings have plenty of room to grow if they’re going to compete or make some unexpected noise.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.