4 keys to victory for the Vikings against the Saints in Week 16

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Get Kirk Cousins in an early rhythm

Kirk Cousins has had a good season despite what the naysayers on social media would tell you. The quarterback has a chance to break the 4,000-yard passing mark for the fifth time in a run-first offense providing he finishes the campaign strongly, which would represent a significant achievement from a player who has become a scapegoat for the team’s failings regardless of how he performs.

It was a rough start for Cousins, of that there is little doubt. However, his level of production after the bye week was the catalyst behind the Minnesota Vikings’ turnaround in fortunes, even if the defense hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain.

Cousins will have a bullseye on his back in New Orleans after securing his first playoff win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome the last time the two teams locked horns. It is therefore vital that offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak gets his signal-caller into a rhythm early by any means necessary to install the right sort of confidence needed to move the chains efficiently.

The Vikings might not have anything to play for other than pride, but Mike Zimmer will not want his roster to go out with a whimper. Cousins is no exception to this and for all the strengths at the Saints’ disposal, their secondary can be got at if the likes of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen continue to get open early and often.