NFL.com's Nick Shook wants Kirk Cousins to start getting a fair shake.
Shook tackled NFL.com's "What We Learned" article after the Vikings upset the 49ers on Monday Night Football, and he said Cousins deserves all the credit he gets after an incredible outing. Shook wrote:
Cousins has been (often unfairly) maligned as a quarterback who is good enough to give his team a chance to win but has never been a guy who can go win them a key game. Consider that opinion indefinitely suspended after Monday night. Cousins was fantastic, finishing with a stellar line of [35-of-45 passing], 378 yards, two touchdowns and one interception that was ripped from the grasp of his intended receiver. He routinely found outlets when under pressure, never panicking and avoiding making a crucial mistake. He spread the ball among nine different targets, and even found ways to keep the offense moving when both Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson briefly exited the game due to injury. And because of his play, the Vikings were able to build enough of a lead to keep the 49ers at bay. Cousins probably should have tossed another touchdown or two, but the two he did complete – plus a handful of Greg Joseph field goals – were enough to score a massive upset win, and perhaps change the narrative of the Vikings, who have now won three of their past four.
Shook heavily credited Addison, who continues to impress more and more each week and especially shined in the absence of Justin Jefferson.
The Vikings are eager to get Jefferson back off Injured Reserve, to be sure, but Shook pointed out the luxury of having a rookie of Addison's caliber in the meantime.
There's no guarantee Addison will ever come close to matching Jefferson's astronomical production, but a game like Monday night will make Vikings fans feel much better about their chances without Jefferson. Two weeks after folks were ready to bury Minnesota for 2023, the Vikings have won two straight. They can thank their rookie wideout for this one.
The Vikings are starting to "clean things up," Shook said, after putting themselves behind the 8 ball thanks to a barrage of self-inflicted wounds – especially through the first four weeks.
The tide has started to turn in their favor in the past month, though, and especially in the past couple of weeks. They're plus-four in turnover margin in their past two games, their defense is allowing just 15 points per game in the past two weeks, and Cousins – who has been good throughout the majority of this season – is finally getting the support he needs. What is perhaps most impressive (and most important) is how Minnesota is learning to bounce back from mistakes.
This one feels even more monumental because of the opponent, the lack of Jefferson, and the prime-time stage. It could serve as a springboard for a Vikings team that doesn't have the most intimidating slate of opponents ahead of them in the next five weeks.
Vikings receive 'A' grade for upset of 49ers on national stage
Minnesota improved to 3-4 after a second straight win, this time with its electrifying upset of San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium.
CBS Sports' John Breech graded each team’s Week 7 performance and gave the Vikings an "A." He wrote:
Cousins threw an interception on his second pass of the game, but after that, the Vikings played nearly perfect football. Cousins carved up the 49ers defense with 378 passing yards. Most of Minnesota's offensive fireworks came from Addison, who caught two touchdown passes, including an improbable 60-yarder just before halftime that looked like it had been intercepted. Not to be outdone, the Vikings defense was equally impressive. It kept Brock Purdy on the run for all four quarters, and it also came up with two huge interceptions over the final six minutes of the game. At 3-4, there's no reason this reinvigorated Vikings team can't get back in the NFC North race.
Breech gave the 49ers a "B-minus" for their effort at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Brock Purdy has been reliable all year and the 49ers defense has been reliable all year. But Monday night, they both let San Francisco down. The 49ers went into Week 7 with one of the best defenses in the NFL, but you wouldn't know that based on how they played against Minnesota. The 49ers defense got torched for 452 yards, and a big reason that happened is because it didn't get much pressure on Kirk Cousins. (He was sacked zero times on 45 pass attempts.) It also couldn't get off the field, as the Vikings converted 8 of 13 third downs. […] The 49ers have now lost two straight, and things aren't going to get any easier with the Bengals and Jaguars next up on their schedule.
Addison nominated for Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week
Addison's lights-out performance has been recognized all around the league, and now he's up for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week.
The following Week 7 nominees were announced Tuesday morning: Addison, Bears QB Tyler Bagent, Rams WR Puka Nacua, Colts WR Josh Downs, Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs and Giants CB Deonte Banks.
Fans can vote at www.nfl.com/rookies, by tagging @NFL on X and on the NFL Mobile app; voting ends at 10 a.m. (CT) Thursday. The winner will be announced Thursday on NFL Network's NFL Now and on NFL.com.
After the regular season, six players will be nominated for Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Fans can vote for the winner at nfl.com/rookies throughout the month of January.
This is Pepsi's 23rd year as the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL and the 22nd year that Pepsi will present the NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Year awards.