Defense put the team in a big hole, early
The performance of the Vikings’ defense is something that everyone has been told not to worry about. They will go out there and take care of business and Minnesota’s offense just has to avoid putting them in unfavorable positions.
However, at least 14 of the Packers’ first 21 points on Sunday were the result of the Vikings’ defense looking terrible out on the field. On their first two drives of the day, Green Bay’s offense marched right down the field and made Minnesota’s defense look incapable of stopping a high school football team.
So almost immediately this week, Kirk Cousins likely felt like he had to overcompensate for the mistakes made by the Vikings’ defense.
Instead of throwing the ball away on a play where no one is open, Cousins was probably more inclined to try and make something out of nothing just to attempt to get Minnesota back in the game. And this is exactly what happened on his first interception when he tried to force the ball to Stefon Diggs, who was surrounded by multiple Packers defenders.
Of course, Cousins still has to be smart in these situations. But like most quarterbacks in the NFL, his risk of making a mistake is only going to increase when his team is trailing.
When their teams are playing from behind, guys like Drew Brees (83.5), Philip Rivers (83.4), and Ben Roethlisberger (83.8) have all posted a similar rating to Cousins during their careers in the league. Playing from behind just makes everything more difficult for pretty much any quarterback in the NFL, it’s just a fact.
So when Minnesota fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter on Sunday, the chances of Cousins delivering a good performance were already pretty unlikely.