Kirk Cousins Threw an Excellent Interception

Vikings Battle DVOA Demons
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Folks, I’m serious on this one: the Kirk Cousins interception wasn’t a bad play. True, interceptions are almost inherently detrimental to an offense, but within the context of Cousins’ time in Minnesota it was a positive sign.

Quite often, Cousins has received criticism for his inability to elevate in critical moments. So far, that simply hasn’t been the case in 2022. The team has 7 wins and 4 of them have resulted from the QB1 leading game-winning drives. He has his squad at an excellent 7-1 record, a reality that simply wouldn’t have materialized unless he performed well in critical times.

We’ve also seen plenty of criticism about Kirk Cousins being afraid of making a mistake, not throwing the interception but then, in turn, not going after the huge play. Well, that’s another criticism that is falling flat this year.

In the Commanders game, Cousins showed tremendous resilience. We think of his willingness to hang in the pocket as Washington’s formidable defensive front repeatedly hit him. We also think of his willingness to give his best receiver a shot at a TD as the first half neared its conclusion.

Take a look at the INT:

If we hit rewind, we’ll see Cousins attempt a similar throw. In the earlier version, it works out well. Justin Jefferson puts hit team ahead with the TD. Take a peak:

Obviously, the plays aren’t identical, but there are some similarities. Cousins is putting some air underneath a ball toward the corner of the endzone. Jefferson – the undisputed WR1 in Minnesota – is well covered but the QB knows that his receiver still has a great shot at coming down with the ball.

The first time, it worked. The second time, it didn’t. That INT kept points off the board for the Vikings, an unfortunate result that helped Washington climb back into the game.

Nevertheless, we ought to applaud Kirk Cousins for his willingness to make these throws, even if the second one resulted in an interception. Sometimes, a home run swing leads to a strikeout. That’s part of what comes with trying to hit the baseball out of the park.

By no means should the QB and the Vikings offense be happy with the result, and yet we can also say that the QB and the Vikings offense shouldn’t be scared of giving their best playmakers a chance to go get the ball.

In the past, I’ve been among those who have been critical of Cousins for his inability to lead his team to wins on a consistent basis. In 2022, that criticism hasn’t applied. The QB1 has done excellently, and that largely stems from his ability to extend plays and still go for it down the field. His aggressiveness in these moments will help Minnesota to keep piling up wins.