3 biggest Vikings scapegoats from the Wild Card loss to the Giants

(Photo by Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Kirk Cousins – QB

Could this have been the final game for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota? If it was, the polarizing quarterback went out in the most polarizing way that only Cousins could pull off.

Cousins played well on Sunday, but without the win, and a confusing final play for Minnesota, people are casting more blame on No. 8 than he deserves.

Cousins completed nearly 80 percent of his passes in the Wild Card matchup to go with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. While 273 passing yards doesn’t jump off the page at you, the Giants’ defense was forcing Minnesota to play the short game all day.

With Cousins constantly under pressure, thanks to superstar New York defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, he was still able to hit his passes while taking big hits from all sides.

The biggest reason that Cousins is receiving so much blame is due to the Vikings’ final play of the game, where Kirk threw the ball well short of the line to gain on fourth down.

In the moment, it was an awful play for Cousins, but as the dust has settled, it’s hard to see what he could have done better. The rest of the receivers for Minnesota weren’t open, and Lawrence was once again breathing down Cousins’ neck.

Hockenson was Cousins’ only option before taking a hit, and while he was well short of the first down, there wasn’t much else that could be done.

The play calling on the final play is what should be in question, as the Vikings only needed eight yards, yet their receivers were running 15 yards down the field.

New York was keyed in all day on forcing Minnesota to play the short game, so trying to take a deep shot on the final play of the seems confusing. With Lawrence wreaking havoc all matchup long, asking Cousins to drop back and wait for deep routes to open up was a plan that was destined to fail.