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Monday Morning Mailbag: Examining the Ups and Downs of Sunday's Performance By The Offense, More

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

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Kirk Cousins is taking A LOT of heat for his performance, especially the interception in the end zone. What needs to happen to correct these mistakes? The pass protection wasn't great but there were quite a few times I felt he held onto the ball for too long. Case in point: the strip sack. Yes, there was pressure but it was about five seconds from snap to fumble. The greats get the ball out in two-to-three seconds, no? Something needs to change before it gets too late. Week 17 comes fast!
-- Kyle Alexander

Correcting the mistake of the interception in the end zone is pretty straight forward and it's also something Cousins can self-correct. He's a prideful player and he's hard on himself, so I'm sure he's already diagnosed that error and knows to make a different decision next time. As for getting rid of the ball quicker, I'll agree it's a good idea to be in the habit of getting the football out of your hand quickly. With that being said, one thing that makes Aaron Rodgers so great is he's willing to hold onto the ball, break the pocket to buy time and then hit a receiver down the field. So there's some good and some bad to being the kind of quarterback who is willing to hold onto the ball and take a hit despite pressuring bearing down on you.

The running game was working during the game. We had the ball on the eight-yard line. Why throw? Try the run first?
-- Jason Schweisthal

It's hard for me to fault the play call on the interception at the end of the game. The proper decision on that play would've been to throw the ball away, which would've made it 2nd and goal from the Green Bay 8. Jason is correct, though, that the running game was working on that drive. Up to the point of the interception, the Vikings had run it six times for 41 yards on that drive. So it would be understandable for offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to continue running it in that spot. However, head coach Mike Zimmer did say in his postgame press conference that Green Bay was having trouble aligning and the Vikings thought they were going to catch Green Bay in a disadvantageous personnel grouping and scheme on that play. It didn't work out, Green Bay made a play and the rest is history.

One thing that really upsets me about fans is that they are so quick to blame the quarterback. I get that Kirk didn't have the best game ever, but it's not like he's the only one to shoulder the blame. The way I see it, this team didn't look as prepared as they should have been and had to overcome some of the early errors. All in all I still think this team has the talent and the coaching to get to where they want to be. I have been a fan for 20 years now and I can feel this team is about to do something amazing.
-- Jorge
Houston, TX

Shouldering more blame than any other player goes with the territory of being a quarterback in this League, especially a handsomely-paid quarterback. Cousins was certainly not the only player who would like to have one or two (or more) plays back. Diggs had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and he dropped a potential catch on a cross route at a key juncture of the game. Dan Bailey missed a kick and had another blocked. Football is a team game and coaches like to remind everyone that you win as a team and lose as a team. But don't forget: this is a quarterback-driven league and they are traditionally going to get more credit than is appropriate credit for wins and more blame than is appropriate after wins.

When did the League start assessing a penalty when they are reviewing a score? The penalty called on the field after Stefon Diggs' touchdown was for down-field blocking. I know a coach can challenge pass interference, but that wasn't the call. So why was it enforced?
-- John Stephens

That change was made this summer. For 2019 on a probationary basis, all pass interference (defensive and offensive) penalties and non-called penalties are reviewable. The Diggs play that was nullified was a touchdown, and all scores are automatically reviewed. So once that play was reviewed, any aspect of a play that is reviewable is scrutinized during the process. Obviously, the officials saw what they thought was conclusive evidence that Cook was blocking downfield and that the ball was in the air, which necessitates a pass interference call, which was applied to the play during the review process.

I can't wait for next week's game against the Raiders because it's going to tell Vikings fans what type of team we have…a team that believes in all the hype they were reading or a team that is going to come out fired up and mad because we lost this game. We had plenty of chances to win it, even with all the mistakes and bad calls. Skol!
-- John McGuire
Lone Pine, CA

I appreciate the positive outlook on the loss in Green Bay and what next week's game against the Oakland Raiders means for the Vikings. But I must also say I believe we already know what kind of team we have with the 2019 Vikings. This is a group that played like its hair was on fire last week, jumping out to a 28-0 lead at one point. Then this week, we saw a team that was put behind the eight ball early and then we saw that team respond with tenacity to hold Green bay scoreless for the rest of the game and methodically work its way to reduce the deficit to five points. So I feel good about the competitive integrity of this squad. I expect them to bounce back in a big way next week in Oakland. Hopefully the big effort is enough to come away with a win.