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Lunchbreak: Highlighting Cousins' Red-Hot November Stretch

The Vikings have won four of their past five games to get themselves in the chase for an NFC Wild Card spot, with numerous players stepping up in the month of November.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list of players who made a big difference in the past five weeks.

After having some ups and downs through the first six games of the 2020 season, Cousins was at his best of late.

He completed 105 of 145 passes (72.4 percent) in five November games, throwing for 1,293 yards with 12 touchdowns and just one interception.

Chad Graff of The Athletic gave Cousins some praise for his recent play, noting that he has been among the league's most effective passers of late.

View exclusive images shot by the Vikings photographers from the Vikings-Panthers game during Week 12 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Graff wrote:

The criticism he got at the beginning of the season was deserved. His play in those early weeks was nowhere near what he's shown lately. But if that early-season blame was earned, then so is praise right now.

It's also worth taking a step back and just looking at Cousins' play against fellow quarterbacks. So here's where Cousins ranks in the past five weeks: First in passer rating (124.3), second in touchdown to interception ratio (12-1), third in completion percentage (72.4), third in touchdown passes, and fifth in net passing yards per attempt (8.6).

We've seen Cousins go on crazy runs like this where he plays as a top-5 quarterback. It happened last October, too. There's evidence that tells us it won't last an entire season. But as a fan, enjoy it while you can.

Cousins is legitimately playing as one of the best quarterbacks over the past five games. If he can continue that, the Vikings will find themselves in a playoff spot come January. After a 1-5 start, the fact that they're going to play meaningful football in December seems absurd. But Cousins is a big reason for that.

Cousins threw for 307 yards with three scores and no interceptions in Sunday's win over Carolina. He also compiled a passer rating of 115.7, his fifth straight game above 100.

Cousins' overall passer rating of 104.5 ranks eighth in the NFL this season. He set a career-high in that category at 107.4 in 2019.

Seifert: Vikings in position to climb into playoff spot

The Vikings currently sit at 5-6 with five games to go, and are a game out of the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC. broke down the full NFC playoff picture earlier this week, as all 16 teams in the conference are still in the running for a spot.

Kevin Seifert of also took a look at where teams stand entering Week 13, and highlighted the Vikings as a team who could make some noise in December.

Seifert wrote:

The Vikings came back from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit Sunday to beat the Panthers, Minnesota's fourth victory in five games. If any team is ready to climb the standings, it could be the Vikings.

The three NFC Wild Card spots are currently held by the Los Angeles Rams (7-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) and the Arizona Cardinals (6-5).