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State of 8: Cousins on Prepping for 'TNF,' Familiarity with McVay

EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins follows the same process following a win or a loss, and nothing changed after Minnesota's difficult outing against Buffalo Sunday.

Cousins was asked about the balance between learning from the poor performance and moving on from it, and he responded, "I'm pretty comfortable with just sticking to my routine."

"I go back and watch the film, ask questions, try to get details corrected, try to make sure everybody's on the same page, [that] we know what we have to do," Cousins told Twin Cities media members Tuesday afternoon. "I would never just throw it away and not look at it. I enjoy learning from it and making sure things get corrected, and then from there, [do] what I would do after a win – which is get back to work and focus on the next opponent and really just keep the same routine."

The Vikings flipped the page to their upcoming opponent even faster than usual in anticipation of the Thursday Night Football game against the Rams.

Cousins talked about "expediting" the preparation process, which includes the team traveling to Los Angeles Tuesday evening.

"You've got to move it up. It's a shorter week," Cousins said. "Monday and Tuesday would normally be a recovery day Monday and off day Tuesday, and we're in here working. So that's how you do it. You come in, and you don't take off days."

Cousins acknowledged the importance of the forthcoming back-to-back road games against the Rams and Eagles, but he also said that the level of significance would be the same whether the Vikings were 3-0 or their current record of 1-1-1.

"They all end up mattering," Cousins said. "I think when you look back at last year's games, this team had so much success, went 13-3, and yet they'll point to a couple games where, if they had won them, they would have had homefield advantage for the championship game.

"So no matter how many you win, you're still looking at every one being important," Cousins added. "And certainly with our record, this game's very important, as the following ones will be."

Here are four other topics Cousins addressed during his session with media?

1. Support for Griffen

Cousins believes it's important to support all his teammates, and it certainly applies now to defensive end Everson Griffen, who is **currently away from the team** while dealing with a personal matter.

"You just make yourself available, and certainly you pray for him – as you do for a lot of guys. I've got a lot of guys in my heart and mind," Cousins said. "A lot of people in this locker room are going through things, and this league will test you in a lot of different ways.

"I guess I'll just say that it's part of what going through this league is like and being a teammate and going through a tough grind of a season is that you have events like this, so you learn to just be supportive and do your best and try to help one another by playing well on the field," Cousins said.

He added that it's important for Griffen's teammates to "be pros" and play at a high level.

"I think one of the ways to support Everson is to go out and play well and do our best and go from there," Cousins said.

2. Familiarity with McVay

Cousins will see a familiar face when he arrives at the Coliseum Thursday.

The Rams are under the direction of Head Coach Sean McVay, who previously served as Washington's offensive coordinator from 2014-16.

Asked about the best thing he learned from McVay with the Redskins, Cousins said that it's difficult to rank specifics, but he is thankful for McVay's influence.

"I just think he had a big impact on my development as a player," Cousins said. "I'm very grateful for having crossed paths with him. I'm always rooting for him – certainly, though, we want to get the 'W' this week."

The Rams in 2017 finished No. 1 overall in average points per game (29.9) and during the offseason bolstered an already strong defense.

Cousins called them a great football team.

"They've played a really high level of football as of late, playoff team from last year, they're well-coached, they have great players," Cousins said. "They can beat you in a number of ways, so we understand we have to play our best football to be able to come out of there with a win."

3. Stressing ball security

Cousins, who fumbled the ball three times under pressure against the Bills, was asked about improving ball security.

He spoke to each of fumbles that were recovered by the Rams.

"We talk always about keeping two hands on the football, and when you're in a crowd to secure it all the more. And certainly on the first one when I was running, the fact that he has the ability to punch the ball out coming from behind me would mean that I need to keep it tighter to my body and secure it that much more – any time I'm in the pocket, just trying to keep two hands on the football," Cousins said. "Fumbles are going to happen time to time with the nature of the NFL pass rush, but you certainly want to limit them to as few as possible.

"I try to go back and look at it," Cousins said of the second strip sack. "It felt like I had two hands on it, but at the same time, I always feel like maybe if I can sense it coming then I can just, instead of just holding it like this I can actually bring it in to my body and secure the ball as opposed to trying to step up into the pocket or stay a passer."

4. Reacting to the run game

The Vikings on Sunday recorded just six carries for 14 yards.

Cousins said it always comes down to the situation at the time and pointed out that Minnesota was behind the sticks almost immediately against Buffalo.

"We were down 17-nothing after we had run six plays, OK? This is not a normal football game," Cousins said. "Obviously no one to blame but myself, or ourselves. So, yeah, you could mix in some things here and there, but for the most part, if you're going to run six plays and be down 17-nothing, you're not going to be really helping your run game, regardless."

Zimmer said during his press conference that there's a "possibility" running back Dalvin Cook could play Thursday after missing Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.

If Cook is unable to go, though, the show must go on.

"We're going to run our offense, and whoever's in there is going to be in there," Cousins said. "We have a full playbook with a lot of options, and we'll be very multiple, and we have to be ready to adapt regardless of who's injured and who's healthy."