Kirk Cousins Wins NFC Offensive Player of the Week
The Minnesota Vikings have become accustomed to having players win these “Player of the Week” awards, but typically, these players have been on the special teams. This week, though, it is not the special teamers winning the award. Instead, QB Kirk Cousins wins the award for Offensive Player of the Week.
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Cousins was the orchestrator of Minnesota’s 33-point comeback victory this past weekend, completing 34-of-54 passes for 460 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions. Making this performance even more impressive was the pressure he faced throughout the afternoon. The Vikings QB was sacked 7 times, tying a season high. He was sacked equally as often in Week 11’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
If you watched only the first half of Saturday’s game, you likely would have scoffed at the idea of Cousins winning this award. In the first half against the Colts, he completed just 6-of-12 passes for 43 yards and an interception. That interception turned into a pick-six, and the Colts bolted out to a 33-0 lead.
The story of this game from a Vikings standpoint is the second half, though. Cousins went from 0 to 100 in that second half and overtime, combining for 28-of-42 passes for 417 yards, 4 TDs, and an interception in the second half and overtime period. Cousins’ 417 yards are an NFL record for most passing yards in a second half and overtime.
Despite the historic second half performance, Cousins received low scores in metrics such as ESPN‘s QBR as well as PFF. Likely, much of these poor scores have to do with that first half where the Vikings QB’s performance was objectively bad. However, the comeback more than makes up for his poor showing in the first 30 minutes of the game.
On the season, Cousins is now up to a 65.3% completion percentage along with 3818 passing yards, 24 TDs, and 11 INTs. He now ranks 16th in completion percentage, 6th in passing yards, and 5th in passing TDs in the entire NFL while leading the league in 4th quarter comebacks as well as game-winning drives. He has seven of those on the year as part of Minnesota’s perfect 10-0 record in one-possession games.
This weekend, Cousins has a chance to continue building his impressive numbers against the New York Giants, who earned a 20-12 victory on Sunday Night Football against the Washington Commanders to improve their season record to 8-5-1. The NFC Offensive Player of the Week also has a chance to face off against the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.
The Giants rookie pass rusher won the defensive award for his efforts against the Commanders this weekend, recording a ridiculous 12 tackles, 3 TFLs, a sack, a forced fumble, fumble recovery, and defensive TD. With there being a decent chance that the Vikings are without starting center Garrett Bradbury for the third consecutive week, it will be interesting to see how the seventh overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft can impact this game.
Kickoff between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants is scheduled for 12 PM CST on Saturday, December 24th at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.