Kirk Cousins Breaks MNF Curse as Vikings Steamroll Bears

  • Adam Thielen'
  • Chicago Bears
  • Dalvin Cook
  • Justin Jefferson
  • Kirk Cousins
  • Matt Nagy
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • MNF
  • Monday Night Football
  • Nick Foles
By James Larsen November 17, 2020 0 Comment
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The Minnesota Vikings finally beat Chicago on the road. Where do they go from here?

What a massive win for the Minnesota Vikings, who have now put together three complete games in a row. After starting the season (1-5), it seemed like a done deal. Three weeks later, they are now sitting at 4-5, with a 3-1 division record. Kirk Cousins has turned things around since the bye week, and is playing a key role in the Vikings recent success.

With how bad Minnesota had looked in their recent matchups with Chicago, Monday night was a refreshing turnaround. Kirk Cousins played outstanding football, despite Dalvin Cook‘s struggles. The defense was on absolute lockdown, not allowing an offensive TD to the Bears the entire game. Let’s break down what got Minnesota this win.

Kirk Cousins Proved the Doubters Wrong

What a night for the Vikings signal caller. Kirk Cousins has not had his best year. Through the first six games, he threw 10 interceptions (four more then had thrown all of last year). However, he has shown quite a bit of improvement out of the bye week. While he’s looked better the last two weeks because of Dalvin Cook’s beastly performances, that wasn’t the case against Chicago.

As expected, the Bears defense made it very difficult on Cook, who only averaged 3.2YPC. This put a lot more pressure on Cousins. In the past, we have seen him struggle greatly when Cook can’t get things going. However, he led the Vikings to this win by making impressive throws and smart decisions. Just look at this dime to Adam Thielen:

While the catch blew everyone’s mind, the throw cannot be ignored. Cousins put that ball in a perfect spot – where only Thielen and Thielen alone could get to it. This is a version of Kirk Cousins that we haven’t seen much of this season, but hopefully it sticks around for a while.

He finished the night 25/36, 292yds, 2 TD, and 1 INT, with a QBR of 100.7. If Kirk Cousins can continue to put up numbers like this, Minnesota will be in phenomenal shape moving forward.

Adam Thielen + Justin Jefferson = Double Trouble

After the Vikings lost Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, we figured it would be an Adam Thielen show in Minnesota. Instead, they picked up Justin Jefferson in the draft, who has proven to be an absolute stud.

Jefferson finished the night with 8 catches for 135 yards. Something that is exciting to watch is his fighting spirit – he never gives up on a play. He is always fighting for extra yardage. This is something you love to see in a young receiver who’s future looks incredibly bright.

Despite a couple rare mishaps from Thielen, he did score the only two offensive touchdowns of the entire game for either team, including the go-ahead TD. With these two efficient targets on the roster, it makes Kirk Cousins’ life much easier.

The Defense Has Drastically Improved

An area that has shown a complete transformation has been the defense. To start the season, they were an absolute mess. Free agency, injuries, and lack of experience left the Vikings defense in shambles. However, since the bye week, they’ve been playing much better.

Nick Foles had a hard time getting anything going, as Mike Zimmer continued to dial up the pressure. The Vikings were able to exploit the Bears offensive line struggles and held the Bears to just 149 yards of total offense, and didn’t allow Chicago to score one offensive touchdown.

Some of the young guys are making their names known. Rookie CB Jeff Gladney has been balling out the last couple of weeks, and we saw him get plenty of action against Chicago. DJ Wonnum, another rookie, made some impressive plays, compiling a couple tackles and a sack.

With guys like Eric Wilson, Kris Boyd, and others stepping up, the Vikings are finally looking more like a complete team. This win was another step forward for their defense, and is encouraging to see for Vikings fans.

What Has To Improve?

Just because the Vikings had almost triple the yardage of Chicago doesn’t mean they did everything right. In fact, they still nearly lost this ball game. If it weren’t for their defense making consistent stops, this easily could’ve had a different ending. There are a couple of things that Minnesota needs to quickly improve moving forward.

Firstly, the turnovers. The Vikings opened up the game with a solid drive into Chicago territory, until Kyle Rudolph coughed it up inside the Bears 25. While Harrison Smith intercepted Nick Foles on the next drive, it was still a missed opportunity for their offense.

Then, right before the half, the Vikings marched the ball deep into Chicago territory again. This time, a nice pass from Kirk Cousins went off Thielen’s arm, and into Khalil Mack‘s bosom. If Minnesota had been able to close out both of those drives, they would’ve been in a much better position in the 4th quarter.

Another issue that has to be addressed is their special teams. To start the third quarter, Dan Bailey kicked it to Cordarrelle Patterson, who took it 104 yards to the house. It was Chicago’s only touchdown of the entire game.

Mike Zimmer was visibly angry after the return, and rightfully so. It’s errors like this that almost cost Minnesota the game, despite dominating through four quarters.

Another special teams error came at the end of the game, after Minnesota scored their second touchdown. On the XP, Austin Cutting gave Colquitt a terrible snap, and they didn’t get the point after. While they still won, if the Bears had scored a TD at the end of the game, the Vikings would’ve probably lost by one point.

Moving forward, Minnesota has to tie up these loose ends. They have a lot of momentum and firepower to make a playoff push. If they can tighten things up, and continue to play complete games, they will be in good shape. With the banged up Dallas Cowboys coming down the pipe for next week, Minnesota may just get to .500 for the first time this season.

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