Monday Impressions: Vikings Let Cousins Down Once Again

Kirk Cousins was really good yesterday. Unfortunately, his really good performance wasn’t enough for us to get the W. Anyone who goes back through the film will undoubtedly find areas where he needs to improve. Basically any game – no matter how sensational – will feature several lousy plays. Cousins’ Sunday performance is no different. That said, this loss isn’t on him.

Let’s dive into the Monday Impressions.

The Offense

1) Kirk played really well. 22/32, 242 yards, and 3 TDs. He didn’t turn the ball over and even added 35 rushing yards. At the end of the game, Cousins marched Minnesota down the field, showing great poise as he did so. One less Dalvin fumble and one less missed kick and we’re all having a really different discussion about Kirk.
2) Speaking of Cook, he had a strong game. On Saturday, I said that getting Dalvin going was the key to helping the offensive line and the defense. Cook finished the day with 131 rushing yards on 22 carries. The plan almost worked.
3) Credit where it’s due: the offensive line really stepped up. Chandler Jones only had a few pressures and one sack. I certainly thought he’d be far more disruptive. They opened huge lanes in the run game and did considerably better in pass pro. Those two realities are interconnected.
4) Any remaining doubt about K.J. Osborn’s role on the team is now gone. He’s our WR3 after putting together 5 catches for 91 yards and a TD. He was explosive and clutch.
5) Klint Kubiak, all things considered, called a really nice game. Where I still have some concern rests on third down. We were a mere 2/10, a number that needs to improve. I know I’m nitpicking, but third down conversions are important, especially when so much of the game plan involved keeping the other QB off the field.

The Defense

1) What a difference having a true DE1 makes. Danielle had 3 sacks and several more pressures. He also held up reasonably well in run defense. I can remember at least a couple plays where he did a nice job scraping down the line for the tackle. He’s an incredible player.
2) I was very, very wrong about Nick Vigil. Through two games, Vigil has been a pleasant surprise. I’m now more worried about whether we can keep him after the season ends.
3) It’s time to give Cameron Dantler a shot to start. He did well in limited opportunity yesterday. Bashaud Breeland has been awful so far.
4) We need more from Dalvin Tomlinson. I know he’s not normally a 3T, but he needs to be much more disruptive. If he can start generating significant push up the middle, life will get considerably easier for the secondary.
5) Zim may have gotten caught trying to do too much yesterday. At times, I thought the blitzes were too aggressive. Now, I’m very happy to admit that Zim knows way, way more about defense than I ever will. It was tough seeing Kyler have so much success, though, as both a passer and a runner. I thought he’d do more to spy him.

The Special Teams

1) Zim made the right decision at the end with the 37-yarder. At some point, your players just need to perform. Greg Joseph had already hit from 50+ twice. The irony is that during the preseason, Joseph hit everything short and missed all his 50+ kicks. Now, he’s hitting all his long ones and struggling with the short ones.
2) The special teams tackling continues to be much improved. Give Ryan Ficken a raise. I’m a fan of both Kris Boyd and Troy Dye.