by Mike Marek
The monkey is off his back! Kirk Cousins has finally won a game on Monday Night Football. Previously, he was an abysmal 0-9. The fact that this game was happening in Chicago made it even harder to believe that this was going to be the game that Kirk ended his streak. It took the defense stepping up in the clutch, but the Vikings found a way to put away Chicago in one of the strangest games I have seen in a long time.
This game featured a kick return for a touchdown, a muffed punt, a botched extra point, multiple interceptions, and odd fumbles. Usually when Minnesota travels to Chicago strange things happen to keep the Vikings out of the victory circle. This game surely takes the cake in the “weird things” category, which also included three holding penalties in a game where hardly anything was called in the first place.
Cordarrelle Patterson looked like a man on a mission to return a slight. He hasn’t been part of the Vikings’ organization for several years; however, he was hell-bent in showing the Purple that he could still be a game breaker. He did exactly that on a tremendous kick-off touchdown return to start the second half. Luckily, that proved to be the last gasp of the Bears as they ended up going quietly into the night, as the Vikings looked to step on the gas.
The Bears did a great job of taking Dalvin Cook out of the game, at least until Akiem Hicks was injured. Before the Hicks injury the Bears only had answers for Cook as the Vikings continued to try to pound the rock into the teeth of the Bears’ defense. Once Hicks came out, the front wavered just enough for the Vikings to take over the game. Cue Kirk for the win.
Kirk Cousins played the game we have been asking him to play since he started working as quarterback for the Vikings. He pushed the ball down field when he needed to, he was open to taking the easy throw, and he managed to get rid of the ball when he needed to. He wasn’t perfect, but the lone interception was clearly not his fault as he had hit Adam Thielen in the hands. In a great showing for Kirk, it came down to a couple of fourth-quarter drives that would decide whether he would be a winner.
With the Vikings driving for the win, they were faced with a decision to make with the Bears holding three timeouts. Should they stay conservative, or would they dare risk throwing the ball? The latter was chosen, and Kirk didn’t disappoint. He found Kyle Rudolph in the flat for an easy first down thanks to a Chicago Bears’ defense that had 100-percent sold out on a running play. The result was one less timeout for the Bears to make their comeback attempt, and another 40 seconds off the clock. This showed enormous trust in Cousins as an incompletion would have been a disaster. You could tell by the reaction by Kirk after the conversion that something had changed with our quarterback. Confidence brimmed from ear to ear, and from that point on, they seemed destined to win. Now Kirk, for your next act, let’s work on beating the trio of hapless opponents scheduled to play the Vikings in the next three weeks. If you do so, the Vikings will be a smoking hot 7-4 going into Tampa.