KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Men in Black?
The nickname proposed by the in-arena host seemed to fit Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson, who wore matching black T-shirts and dark shades.
The pair of QBs who usually are competing against each other joined forces for the NFL Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, which aired tonight on ESPN.
Cousins and Wilson helped the NFC team win the "Thread the Needle" challenge, during which two quarterbacks from each conference aimed passes through numbered targets while defensive backs from the opposing conference worked to deflect their throws.
View photos of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins who participated in the 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown in Orlando, Fla.
Cousins, who threw against Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and Wilson combined for 28 points. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson scored 21 points for the AFC.
"Well, we figured Men of the NFC, and you threw out the Men in Black reference," Wilson told the crowd after the challenge. "We wanted to throw them off a little bit – give them a little look, throw a little surprise in there for 'em."
Cousins compared the game to a soccer drill in which the DBs acted as the goalies.
"We were able to hit a few and get the win," he said.
Cousins and Wilson also teamed up for the Precision Passing drill, in which three players – two quarterbacks and a non-QB – represented each conference. The players each had one minute to throw balls at targets worth various point totals based on their distance from the passing mark.
The NFC passers collaborated on a strategy.
"We had a plan. We wanted to win," said Cousins, who hit both "4" targets, which were 50 yards out. "It was a lot of fun. We had a plan to hit the 4s first, then the 3s, then go for the 5 – we both hit the 5 – and then just bang out 2s and 1s until we ran out of time."
Cousins impressed the crowd with 18 points, which was more than the AFC's 17 total points scored. He was followed by Packers receiver Davante Adams, who added six points, and then Wilson racked up 19.
The Vikings quarterback complimented NFC North-rival Adams.
"He's in our division, and after watching how he threw it, I'll have to let our coaches know, 'Hey, be ready for him on a reverse pass,' " Cousins said.
Cousins' final event was Best Hands, in which he was paired with former Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. The duo competed in a timed relay race to catch a series of passes at a sequence of downfield targets as quickly as possible. Designated targets required a specific style of catch – diving, one-handed, over the shoulder – which had to be executed before the receiver could move on to the next target.
A couple of dropped passes put the NFC behind the clock, and the AFC ended up winning the challenge.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook also took part in the Skills Showdown. The first-time Pro Bowler participated in the Gridiron Gauntlet, a football-themed relay obstacle course, as well as the final challenge, Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball.
The dodgeball event included all players from both teams.
Cousins, Cook, Wilson and Adams were joined on the NFC squad by Shaquil Barrett (Bucs), Cam Jordan (Saints), Jaylon Smith (Cowboys), Darius Slay (Lions), Eddie Jackson and Patterson (Bears).
At one point early in the dodgeball game, Cook turned to the stands and hyped the crowd with a Cousins-esque, "You like that!?"
"He's the best. It's so fun to have him out here," Cousins said of sharing the experience with Cook. "It's fun to have seven teammates here. The other time I went to the Pro Bowl [with Washington after the 2015 season], I only had one teammate.
"To have seven other guys makes a big difference in the week," he added. "They're all really good guys, really good people."
The AFC and NFC entered the "best two out of three" dodgeball challenge tied, but despite full effort – and some strategizing between Cousins and Smith – the AFC ended up winning the game."
"We lost the overall," Cousins acknowledged. "But the two throwing competitions we won, which I was pleased with."