Vikings players were decked out in #PrimetimePurple uniforms, wearing the combination of purple jerseys and pants for just the sixth time in franchise history. Fans used a temporary purple film cover on their cell phones to cast a glow across the stadium, and graphics on the video boards and elsewhere were specially made to resemble neon lights.
As for Kirk Cousins?
His light was more of a laser.
Narrowly focused and surgically precise.
And that was even without one of his favorite receiving targets, Adam Thielen, who missed the game with a hamstring injury suffered last week in Detroit.
Pre-game question: How would Cousins fare against his former team, and how would the Vikings defense manage against former QB Case Keenum and RB Adrian Peterson?
The Vikings handed off to Dalvin Cook on first down for 5 and followed with a 4-yard pass to Stefon Diggs. Minnesota opted for a pass on the third-and-1, and when it wasn't there, Cousins scrambled for 2.
He then threw a tight end screen to Kyle Rudolph on which the nine-year player recorded his 401st career reception to move into sixth place on the Vikings all-time receptions list. Fittingly, it occurred on a night when Steve Jordan (498 receptions, third all-time) became the first tight end and 25th member of the Vikings Ring of Honor.
Cousins' next pass built off play action and hit Diggs, who made it to the Washington 25 before Cole Holcomb forced a fumble.
Cousins led scoring drives on Minnesota's next four possessions (field goal, field goal, touchdown, field goal) midway into the third quarter.
The Vikings were able to execute a crisp two-minute drill on which Cousins was 4-of-4 passing for 67 yards, even though Cook worked his magic after a short pass on a 31-yard gain.
He was 12-of-13 for 173 yards in the first half and continued that clip in the second half, finishing 23 of 26 for 285 yards with a passer rating of 112.3.
Cousins was on the mark for a 39-yard throw down the right sideline to Stefon Diggs on a third-and-9 from the Minnesota 10. It was similar to a throw-and-catch by the combo last week that also converted a third down.
Keenum also played well, completing 12 of 16 passes for 130 yards for a passer rating of 98.4. He did lose a fumble during a sack by Danielle Hunter that set up Minnesota's first field goal.
Dwayne Haskins, Jr., replaced Keenum to open the second half, and the Redskins announced in the third quarter that the former Viking was diagnosed with a concussion.
Peterson also played well in his return to where his career began. He rushed 14 times for 76 yards with a long of 29 and added two receptions for 27 yards.
The future Hall of Famer passed two more players on the all-time rushing list who are already enshrined (LaDainian Tomlinson and Jerome Bettis).
On facing Cousins facing his former team:
"We won the game, and that's all that matters, and that's all my focus is on. And they were a tremendous place to go to work for six years, and I just have the best of memories of my time there."
"I thought he played outstanding, really. … He made some really good plays. The one play that he was getting pressure and he threw the ball to, I guess, it was somebody over the middle, maybe Irv [Smith, Jr.], and got the first down. That was big. They were taking away a lot of the shot plays that we had tonight, so we had to be a little bit more methodical as we went along."
— Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
On the 39-yard pass to Diggs:
"We hit one similar last week down the same sideline against the Lions to him. It's just a belief that he'll track the ball, he'll have that extra gear when the ball's in the air, he'll find it and go get it, and I've got to trust him. You've got to throw the anticipation, and that's what go balls or double moves are all about. He hit a couple the last couple of weeks. And you also hope that when he can do that and go over someone's head, that you can throw some underneath stuff because they have to be ready for the fact that you've proven you can run by them."
"I think he throws a really good deep ball, and the timing on that one was pretty good. The guy had [Stefon] Diggs covered pretty well, but Stefon went up and made a nice play on it.
On the rhythm that Cousins and the offense have:
"He's doing everything right; he's doing his job. And guys around him need to help him. That's our job. The O-line's going to protect him, the running backs are going to run the ball extremely hard, and the receivers just have to catch the ball, that's all. So working as a unit, a cohesive unit, and everybody doing their part."