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After Further Review: Vikings Misdirect Lions on Cousins' 4 TDs

After Further Review is a deeper look at plays or stats after Vikings games…

Kirk Cousins did it again.

The Vikings quarterback passed for four touchdowns for a second consecutive week and became the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards and have a passer rating of 130 or higher in three consecutive games.

It was the sixth career game in which Cousins has thrown four touchdowns and third with Minnesota.

Here's a look at all four:

Q1, 5:23 remaining — Second-and-7 at the Detroit 25

The Vikings have 21 personnel with RB Alexander Mattison, FB C.J. Ham, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Stefon Diggs and WR Adam Thielen. Diggs, Thielen and Ham start on the left side of the formation with Thielen and Ham off the line of scrimmage. The Vikings send Thielen in motion, which they've previously done to execute a sweep or fake, and Lions cornerback Darius Slay goes with him across the formation, revealing that he's in man-to-man coverage on the play.

Ham and left guard Pat Elflein help sell a run to the right along with Cousins and Mattison, but Cousins keeps the ball and rolls out to his left, where he finds plenty of space.

Thielen has seven yards of separation, smoothly changes direction and accelerates past Slay, who entered the game with a hamstring injury (and didn't finish the game).


Diggs' route is important, too, because he works his way down to the 7-yard line, which keeps safety Quandre Diggs at the goal line and allows Cousins to target the back of the end zone. The Detroit defender turns and tries to get enough depth but is unable to do so.

Cousins' placement of the football makes it Thielen's or no one's, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Thielen play a snap — or even a rep in practice — that he secured the catch. Unfortunately, Thielen suffered a hamstring injury on the play and did not return.

Q2, 12:44 remaining — First-and-goal at the Detroit 1

The Vikings have just been awarded a new set of downs and go with 22 personnel. Dalvin Cook is in at running back, and Ham lines up on the left of Rudolph, who is on the left of Riley Reiff. TE Tyler Conklin lines up on the right of Brian O'Neill. Bisi Johnson is the lone wide receiver.

He starts out left of Ham and goes in motion behind Conklin, bringing cornerback Justin Coleman all the way across the field, again revealing man-to-man coverage on a receiver.

Detroit loads the line of scrimmage with eight defenders, trying to prevent a run.

The Vikings sell a run to the right as Johnson makes his way back to the left. Rudolph also makes his way through traffic and has the corner route.


Safety Will Harris tries to pursue Rudolph but winds up further deterring Coleman, who has no shot of getting back to Johnson.

Forcing Detroit to cover the field laterally before the snap helped the Vikings in an area where space can be hard to find.

Q3, 9:08 remaining — Second-and-goal at the Detroit 5

The Vikings again have 21 personnel (Cook, Ham, Rudolph, Diggs, Johnson).

Ham is on the right of the formation, behind O'Neill. At the snap, Johnson and Rudolph, who are on the left, make their way to the right, and Cousins fakes a handoff to Cook.


Ham enjoys a clear path behind Minnesota's misdirection and has plenty of speed and space for his first career touchdown reception thanks to defensive back Tracy Walker getting sucked in by the misdirection to the right.

Q4, 5:46 remaining — Second-and-8 at the Detroit 15

The Vikings use 21 personnel again, lining up Rudolph, Johnson and Ham in a bunch formation to the left.

The Lions have six players, including Christian Jones, on the line of scrimmage and two linebackers in the middle of the field.

Rudolph executes a quick spin move against Walker and Jones, getting off the line of scrimmage. Walker gets picked by Jones.


Linebacker Jahlani Tavai follows Ham's route to the left, and Jarrad Davis follows running back Alexander Mattison (also to the left).

Rudolph quickly darts into the area they vacated past Walker, and Cousins finds him for an easy throw and catch at the 9. Rudolph does the rest, recording his 400th career reception, tying Ahmad Rashad for sixth all-time in Vikings history.