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Action Reaction: Cousins Laments, Lists Throws That Could Have Been Better

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings defeated the Seahawks 21-20 on Friday, thanks to some late-game heroics and a pivotal pick in the fourth quarter.

Well before those deciding plays, however, the first-team offense had is opportunity to respond to a less-than-ideal showing the previous week against Jacksonville.

The unit that netted 13 yards on 16 plays against the Jaguars bounced back nicely against the Seahawks and played the entire first half.

Minnesota’s starters outgained Seattle 209 to 138, converted seven of 10 third downs and didn’t have a turnover in two quarters against Seahawks first teamers.

Kirk Cousins was a big part of the effectiveness. He completed 17 of 28 passes, didn’t take a sack and scrambled to safety on a 2-yard sprint to the sideline that he finished with a slide.

Pregame question:

Cousins’ action in Week 2 was highly limited but he was 3-of-8 passing for 12 yards and a rating of 45.8 against the Jaguars in his first home game in Purple.

With the small sample size in mind, it was still worth wondering how the marquee addition in free agency would respond.

In-game action:

The Vikings opening drive included three third-down conversions and lasted 7:34. After Dalvin Cook moved the chains on a third-and-1, Cousins connected with Stefon Diggs for a gain of 10 on third-and-10 and with Adam Thielen for 6 on a third-and-4.

After advancing to the Seattle 24-yard line, Cousins took a shot to Diggs on third-and-3, but he wished he had done a better job of leading Diggs. Instead, Seahawks corner Shaquill Griffin was able to break it up. Minnesota then attempted a 42-yard field goal that was wide left.

Postgame reaction:

While Cousins said there were some positives, he lamented “several throws” from the evening. The long pass to Diggs was one of them, along with a short pass two plays earlier that was too high for Diggs to handle without Griffin breaking it up.

“I’ve made a list [of throws] that we didn’t hit, and it’s mostly me,” Cousins said. “We’ve got to hit them, and we can hit them. I came off the field feeling like we could have been so much better. There was a lot there to be had that we didn’t do. I probably won’t sleep as easily tonight because of that.”

Cousins was asked if he made the list because he had free time on the sidelines and said he did so because “it was starting to add up, which isn’t a good thing.”

“I mean it was the out-breaking route to Adam on the sideline in the two-minute that was down at his feet. That should have been an easy pitch-and-catch,” Cousins said. “Latavius twice in the flat. The ball was high and away. The ball needs to be on him, not that the second one would’ve been a big gain but just can be more accurate. The inside fade I thought to Diggs would have been a touchdown, if the ball’s thrown accurately. … I thought the 2-point conversion was probably there as well and I could’ve made a better throw. When you go 17 of 28 and there’s a few you want back, you could’ve really had a great night, and I feel we just missed that.”

It should be noted that Cousins was on-the-money with a back-shoulder pass to Diggs on Minnesota’s second possession for a gain of 27 that tied with a catch-and-run by Laquon Treadwell for the Vikings longest play of the night.

Cousins’ passing attempts likely were inflated slightly when the Vikings had the opportunity to participate in a two-minute drill before halftime. He said he was grateful that the unit had exposure to that before opening the regular season against San Francisco on Sept. 9.

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