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Kirk Cousins' Efficiency Helps Vikings Sweep Lions

MINNEAPOLIS — The stat line for Kirk Cousins didn't jump off the page after Sunday's win.

Not like it did for the Vikings quarterback in Minnesota's win earlier in 2019 when he gashed the Lions defense for a season-high 337 passing yards and four touchdowns.

No, Cousins threw for just 242 yards and a single touchdown in Week 14, but his passer rating was a strong 111.4.

More importantly to Cousins, the Vikings secured their ninth win.

"He just likes winning," said Vikings left guard Pat Elflein. "So, whatever it takes to win, that's all he cares about. He tells us, 'Whatever we have to do to stick together … let's get a win.' All he cares about is winning."

Cousins said: "All in all, it was great to win. And we'll do it any way we have to."

View game action images as the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions during Week 14 at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Cousins played with an efficiency on Sunday that has been customary this season. He completed 24 of 30 passes, good for an 80-percent clip. He was sacked once, and didn't turn the ball over.

The quarterback still has four total interceptions on the season, two of which came in Week 2 against the Packers. The other two came in Week 6 and Week 13, when passes hit off the hands of Stefon Diggs.

Cousins has now completed 272 of 388 passes (70.1 percent) for 3,274 yards with 24 touchdowns and four picks.

Unlike Minnesota's Week 7 win against Detroit when the Vikings offense needed to keep pace in a shootout and score 42 points, the unit was content to grind it out at home. The Vikings tallied 20 points on 354 yards of offense, 252 of which came in the first half.

"Can't say enough good things about our defense, the way they really dominated so much of the game. And that really created the tenor of the game for us," Cousins said. "We didn't feel that much pressure on offense to have to, 'Keep scoring, keep scoring,' because of the way our defense was playing.

"If anything, our focus was, 'Don't give them anything, don't give them a short field, don't turn the ball over,' and 'allow our defense to really win the game,' " Cousins added.

The quarterback threw his lone touchdown in the first quarter on a 9-yard strike to Bisi Johnson.

Other than that, perhaps the most notable play of the day was a beautiful pass on a 44-yard connection to Diggs late in the first half that set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Dalvin Cook.

The play helped increase Minnesota's lead from 10 to 17, which was more than enough on Sunday.

"It's important to not only score before the half, but then we started with the ball at the start of the second half, and I think that's where you can talk about maybe being able to put a team away is when you can score going into the half and score coming out of the half," Cousins said. "But, yeah, when you have the timeouts we had and could cover the field with about a minute, it was good to see that drive.

"That was a big touchdown, the way the game played out," Cousins added. "I think we've done a great job in 2-minute at the end of halves this year, getting some points, getting some field goals and a touchdown there, and hopefully we can keep that up as the year goes on. It ends up having a big impact on the game."

Cousins and the Vikings kept their spot in the Wild Card race with Sunday's win.

Minnesota (9-4) wraps up its road slate in Week 15 against the Chargers before finishing with back-to-back home games against the Packers and Bears.

The Vikings will need Cousins to be at his best in order to get into the playoffs, but they'll also take what they saw Sunday — an efficient and sturdy performance that ended with a locker room that was pleased by the win.

"He's finding the open man," Diggs said. "It is hard to key-in on guys and do that kind of thing, as far as schematics goes, but he is moving the ball around and finding the open man.

"He is playing good football," Diggs added.