Jordan Addison found himself at the center of contested catches that proved monumental on Monday Night Football, a gritty yet flashy 22-17 victory by the Vikings over the 49ers.
The Vikings rookie receiver was targeted on Minnesota's third play of the game, but 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward ripped the ball away for an interception just three snaps into the game.
Fast-forward to the end of the second quarter, and Addison wound up snatching the ball away from Ward. He spun and kept his feet at the 35 before sprinting to the end zone and crossing the goal line with seven seconds remaining. The finish to the play was clutch because the Vikings were out of timeouts and would not have been able to get to the line and spike the ball to stop the clock had Addison been tackled.
Addison finished with 123 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches for his first career game with 100-plus receiving yards.
After Justin Jefferson suffered his hamstring injury in Week 5 against the Chiefs, Cousins said, "Jordan is the real deal. We hit on that draft pick."
It was a vote of confidence from the veteran QB toward the rooke before Cousins went on to credit Minnesota's skills group with being "as good as I've ever been with."
Cousins worked his way through the lineup, completing passes to nine different teammates.
Addison was targeted 10 times but left the game in the third quarter with cramps.
T.J. Hockenson also dealt with a calf injury in the first half and had his ankle rolled up on from behind while making a block but returned both times (more on his night below).
Brandon Powell added four catches for 64 yards, K.J. Osborn caught five passes for 47 yards, and Cam Akers added two receptions for 30 yards.
Trishton Jackson, who had been elevated from the practice squad, recorded his first career reception for a gain of 8 on third-and-12 that allowed Greg Joseph to attempt and make a 54-yard field goal for a 22-14 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Here are four more observations from the game.
1. 'Moovieee' with a quick sequel
Camryn Bynum high pointed Brock Purdy's final pass of the night to snag his second interception of the game.
He often says "Mooovieee" to say his life is a movie and turned a sequel in the nick of time Monday.
Bynum prevented a pass thrown by Purdy to Ray-Ray McCloud at the 22 yard line, allowing Minnesota to line up in victory formation with 25 seconds remaining and halt a drive that began at the San Francisco 40-yard line after a missed 50-yard field goal attempt by Greg Joseph with 1:11 remaining in the game.
Bynum also ended San Francisco's previous possession, snagging a pass down the middle of the field at the Minnesota 30-yard line with 5:30 remaining and a 22-17 lead.
2. Tight ends represent
Hockenson finished with 11 catches for 86 yards on 12 targets and made multiple key blocks, showing out for the continuation of "National Tight Ends Day." The "holiday" began in San Francisco in 2018 when George Kittle was mic'd up.
It was an "empty-the-bucket" effort from Hockenson.
Kittle also played well, adding five catches for 78 yards.
3. Cousins hangs tough
Will Cousins critics give him his due this time? If not for this one, they never will.
He was on fire, completing 35 of 45 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception for a passer rating of 107.2.
The stats could have been even greater, if not for a couple of really near misses, or I guess they could have been worse had Addison not been able to secure the remarkable catch.
Anywho, Cousins was presented a Top 10 Chain after the game before participating in an on-field interview with ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast.
He deftly navigated the pocket and withstood pressure time and again. He extended plays and didn't rush throws, waiting for receivers to flash open.
Credit Minnesota's offensive line, as well, and Minnesota's plan to avoid a potentially devastating rush group of the 49ers that did not sack the QB.
4. Defense opens and closes with key stops
In addition to slamming the door shut, the Vikings defense also rallied to force a turnover the first time the group took the field.
San Francisco gained possession at the Minnesota 48-yard line after the Ward interception, but the Vikings got the ball back five plays later.
Bynum and Harrison Smith tackled Christian McCaffrey in the red zone, and the ball popped out.
Dean Lowry recovered the football at the 11-yard line, and Minnesota's offense responded by driving 89 yards on 10 plays for a 7-0 lead with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
It was the first touchdown allowed by the Niners in a first quarter this season.