"The Kirk Cousins of the Eagles game is the real Kirk Cousins. If he can get at least mediocre line play he will continue to be successful. He has some superstar (yes, superstar) weapons out there in Thielen and Diggs, which will go a long way when your O line is only mediocre."
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We release two Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs a week, one on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related) and one on Thursday (Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves related).
For today's edition, Vikings analyst and podcast co-host Mike Coenen discusses what went right in their 23-21 win against the Eagles, Kirk Cousins performance, the lack of running game, and the defense suddenly coming alive.
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Kirk Cousins threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings 23-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Is this the real Kirk Cousins? As opposed to, say, the Cousins we saw in the first half at Green Bay and against Buffalo? What needs to happen for him to continue to be successful
The Kirk Cousins of the first half of the Green Bay game and the Buffalo debacle is certainly not the real Kirk Cousins. If so, the Vikings wouldn’t have signed him to an 84 million dollar contract. Even high-priced quarterbacks can look bad, especially when their offensive line plays atrociously, which they did during the two above-mentioned contests. The Kirk Cousins of the Eagles game is the real one, or at least the one the Vikings hoped they were signing this past spring. If he can get at least mediocre line play he will continue to be successful. He has some superstar (yes, superstar) weapons out there in Thielen and Diggs, which will go a long way when your O line is only mediocre.
How much is the Vikings lack of a running game concerning to you?
It's definitely concerning. The Vikings had about 77 yards rushing at Philadelphia, which isn’t terrible, but it’s not good either. I do expect their running game to improve, especially once the offensive line gels a bit and Dalvin Cook is able to shake off some of the rust from missing most of last season due to a knee injury. A good, much less great, running game isn’t needed anymore to win in the NFL. A mediocre running game can get you to the Super Bowl, as long as you have a great passing game, which the Vikings do.
Despite still missing some key players, the Vikings defense looked pretty good. What did you see from them this week that they were missing in prior weeks? What do they need to do to sustain this level of play?
The defense played with a sense of urgency and intensity that hasn't been there in recent weeks, and perhaps not since the first game against the 49ers. Going into this season, the Vikings defense bought into all the hype about how great they are. Going into this last game, amidst much criticism of their play thus far, they had something to prove. They came out and played with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. To be successful in the NFL, you have to play hungry. The Viking’s defense finally came out and played hungry.
Going forward they need to be able to maintain that kind of intensity and even urgency, week after week. It’s an offensive league now, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The deck is stacked against all defenses. If you don’t bring it hard, early and often, you’ll give up 30-plus points a game.
The Lions beat the Packers 31-23 on Sunday. Are the Lions better than you thought they were, the Packers worse, or neither? What would the Lions have to do for you to take them seriously?
That was only the Lion’s second win of the season. I don’t necessarily think they are better than I thought they were. They usually are pretty tough at home. They’re not a bad team, I just don’t think they are a good team. Still saying about 8-8 for the Motor City kitties.
Subsequently, the Packers have historically played poorly in Detroit. Even during the Brett Favre days, when they would go 12-4, they usually lost the game in Detroit and looked bad doing it. Aaron Rodgers will get the Packers back up over .500 (they will lose this coming Sunday at the Rams), and they will challenge for a wild card spot at around 10-5-1.
Mike Coenen is a writer, historian, professor, and author from Little Falls, Minnesota. He is the Vikings analyst for Rambling On and is the co-host of the Minnesota Sports Ramble podcast. Since 2016 he has been creating content for Rambling On as sports analyst and podcast co-host.