The Vikings are on a four-game winning streak heading into the second half of the 2019 regular season.
Minnesota moved to 6-2 after a convincing 19-9 win over the Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday Night Football. Kirk Cousins was 23-of-26 passing with 285 yards through the air.
Cousins spoke about the mood of the locker room heading into the second half of the season on his podcast Under Center with Kirk Cousins this week.
"I've always said winning cures all wrongs," Cousins said. "If you have dysfunction in a locker room, but you are winning, there is no dysfunction. If you have a healthy locker room, but you are losing, they will find dysfunction. Winning just changes the whole tenor of the season. It's fun to come into work, the days don't feel long, you love the grind, you build that brotherhood and you make memories, great memories.
Cousins has led the charge throughout the winning streak, completing 91 of 116 passes (78.4 percent) for 1,261 yards with 10 touchdowns and an interception since Week 5. He has a passer rating of 137.1 during that span.
"We have to find a way to keep it going because 6-2 these past few weeks, it feels good," Cousins added. "Let's keep it going."
The Vikings will now have a tough matchup on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs (5-3).
The experts released their Power Rankings lists heading into Week 9.
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank:
5 (Same Spot): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
It wasn't the blowout most expected, but the Vikings took care of the Redskins on Thursday Night Football and have now won four straight after last month's apparent near-mutiny in the locker room. Cousins failed to complete just three of 26 attempts, but the real star was Dalvin Cook, who piled up 171 yards of total offense and provided the game's lone touchdown on another monster day. Cook is the NFL's leader in scrimmage yards and has become a dual-threat in the backfield on par with Saints star Alvin Kamara and fellow MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey. According to NFL Media Research, Cook is averaging 11.6 yards after the catch per reception this season, tops in the league. Spinning forward, we'll learn a lot about the Vikes in the next two weeks, with road matchups against the Chiefs and Cowboys on tap. Cousins has struggled historically in high-visibility showdowns against Super Bowl contenders — can he quiet that ugly narrative?
5 (Same Spot): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
Here's where the line of true Super Bowl contenders seems to start (though an exception can be made for the Chiefs once everyone is healthy). The Vikings weren't great last week against Washington, but didn't need to be. Minnesota seems underrated because of skepticism over Kirk Cousins, which is justified. But this is a very good team.
6 (Up 1 Spot): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
The offense continues to play at a high level with Kirk Cousins playing well. They head to Kansas City for a tough game with the Chiefs this week.
5 (Same Spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
The Minnesota Vikings are on a roll.
Granted, the Vikings 10-point win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night wasn't the team's most impressive victory of the season. But after pitching and lurching their way to a 2-2 start, the Vikings have peeled off four straight wins and sit at 6-2 at the season's halfway mark.
The biggest reason for Minnesota's surge is the player who, not that long ago, was the target of more than a little vitriol from the fan base. Kirk Cousins didn't throw a touchdown pass against Washington, but the $28 million quarterback misfired on just three of 26 pass attempts and posted a passer rating over 110 for the fourth game in a row.
During Minnesota's winning streak, Cousins has 10 touchdown passes and just a single interception.
"I'm still not sold on Minnesota as a Super Bowl contender given its 1-2 mark inside its own division," Gary Davenport said. "But if the Vikes can keep the momentum rolling on the road at Kansas City and Dallas the next two weeks, it will go a long way toward bringing me around."
5 (Up 3 Spots): The MMQB Staff – Sports Illustrated
Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 190
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Last week's result: Beat Washington, 19-9
This week: at Kansas City
The Vikings beat the Redskins in an extremely nonchalant game of Thursday Night Football thanks to Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs simply being too good for Washington's defense to stop. A road game against the Chiefs is still a stiff test this weekend.
5 (Same Spot): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings went into full grind mode Thursday night, not looking for style points and just sticking with their identity of running heavily with Dalvin Cook to set up big pass plays for Kirk Cousins. That complementary football has them in the NFC title hunt.
5 (Same Spot): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports
DE Danielle Hunter [turned 25 today]. His 48 career sacks established record for most ever for player prior to his 25th birthday [since 1982 when sacks became official].
8 (Same Spot) Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Player who needs to step up: Pat Elflein, OG
Elflein's move from center to left guard has come with its share of struggles. The third-year offensive lineman averaged two pressures per game in the first eight weeks, allowed four sacks and has been flagged five times. The Vikings moved Elflein to left guard because they felt it would be a better fit with rookie Garrett Bradbury at center, but the left side of the offensive line has taken a hit with Elflein's struggles in pass protection. His run blocking has been great, so if Elflein can improve his blocking when Kirk Cousins drops back to pass, the Vikings will be able to routinely create clean pockets.
7 (Up 1 Spot) Mark Maske – Washington Post
Kirk Cousins has played splendidly over the past month. But is that another mirage or is that version of Cousins here to stay? It's an intriguing storyline as the Vikings try to elbow their way into the jumbled mess of teams vying for NFC supremacy.
7 (Up 1 Spot) Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
The difference between a special season and a wild-card scramble hinges on the next two games.