Last season, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had to step away from the football field for a little while to focus on improving his mental health. Over the years, Griffen became known for his motivating pre-game speeches and without him, there was certainly a good chunk of leadership that was lost.
With the veteran pass-rusher missing time, Kirk Cousins decided that he was going to step in and take over as the guy who would motivate Minnesota’s roster before each game. However, Cousins was definitely no Griffen.
All of his attempts at a pre-game speech felt like he was trying too hard and it just didn’t fit with the quarterback’s normal demeanor on or off the field.
This season, Griffen is back and Cousins has found new ways to be a leader for his team that seem to be a much better fit for the veteran quarterback.
Instead of some pre-planned speech, Cousins is letting his play do the talking this year. There have been numerous moments this season in which the Minnesota signal-caller has put the team on his back and carried them to victory.
This really started back in Week 7 during the Vikings’ win over the Detroit Lions. Minnesota’s defense was having trouble stopping the Lions’ offense, so Cousins and the rest of the Vikings’ offense had to put up a bunch of points to lead the team to a victory.
Cousins ended up finishing the day with 337 yards and four touchdowns. It was easily one of his best performances in a Minnesota uniform.
Last week against the Denver Broncos, Cousins put on his leadership hat, once again, and led the Vikings to an improbable win despite falling behind by 20 points in the first half.
Minnesota essentially needed to score on every offensive possession in the second half and that is exactly what Cousins made sure happened. Each time the offense came off the field after putting up points in the third and fourth quarter, the Vikings quarterback could be seen immediately rushing to his tablet to look at the film and figure out the next way he could lead his team to a score.
Cousins seems to be playing with a fire this season and it’s been rubbing off on the rest of the team. He no longer seems like he’s being fake or trying too hard, he’s finally being himself and it’s resulted in a bunch of success for Minnesota.