Minnesota’s defense did not support Cousins
A lot of fans pointed to Minnesota’s defensive struggles to show that Kirk Cousins did everything he could to help this team win. In reality, a lot of the defense’s problems were tied to a scared Cousins-led offense more often than not.
The Vikings rank 28th in the NFL in third-down conversion rate this season, converting on just 35.4 percent of their attempts. The defense cannot stay off the field long when Cousins and company consistently go three and out, especially at the end of the first half.
In the fourth quarter, the Vikings have converted just 29 percent of their third-and-medium passing attempts on the season. When the ball is put in Kirk’s hands when it matters, he often comes up short. Sure, he had some big drives to put the team in a position to win, but he also did a lot of the opposite.
Far too many times did the offense stall out in the final two minutes of the first half and allow opponents to go back down the field. It would be nice if the defense could get some stops there, but that was not the case.
To put the blame on the defense is very foolish without providing context. The defense had some strong games this season, but Cousins did not do enough to lead the offense when given the chance. He also won several games because the defense did not break.
Minnesota lost games this season giving up 14 (Browns) and 20 (Cowboys) while also squeaking out wins over the Bears and Lions when Kirk was not great. Cousins was outplayed by Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Cooper Rush in 2021, and that simply cannot happen.
We can all agree that this is a team sport. The Vikings, as a team, did not show up consistently all season long, and that is what ultimately cost them a trip to the playoffs.