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Kirk Cousins, Vikings aim to bounce back vs. Lions

Sportsnaut
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins’ performance on Monday Night Football was an eyesore. The good news for the Minnesota Vikings and their veteran quarterback is that he’s always thrived against the Detroit Lions.

Minnesota (1-1) will look to bounce back from its 24-7 road loss to Philadelphia when it faces the Lions on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Cousins, a Michigan native, has a 7-2 record in nine starts against Detroit. He’s averaged 282 passing yards in those outings while throwing for 19 touchdowns and getting intercepted just twice.

The Eagles picked off three of Cousins’ throws on Monday and dropped a couple more potential interceptions. A pair of the turnovers occurred in the end zone.

“That’s what’s so important about red-zone offense, is making sure you come away with three points,” Cousins said. “There’s so many times where you are behind but you just need to chip away and know anything can happen. The game can turn on any play, so you don’t need to be overly aggressive and try to get it all back. … Certainly one of those, I felt I could have been more conservative and checked it down.”

Cousins looked a lot better in the season opener against Green Bay, when he passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in a 23-7 victory.

He’ll face an improving Lions pass rush spearheaded by No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who recorded three sacks against Washington last Sunday.

“I think highly of them, I think highly of their coaching staff and their players,” Cousins said. “They’re a team that has a lot of character and talent. It’s going to be a great challenge. I’ve always felt they’ve been a challenge and I expect Sunday to be no different.”

It would greatly help Cousins if the running game can get untracked. Dalvin Cook was held to 17 yards on just six carries against the Eagles.

“A lot factors into play calling. Getting into a rhythm, making plays early,” Cook said. “We left a lot of plays on the field. We’ve got to be better making those plays.”

The Lions (1-1) were cooking offensively against the Commanders. Jared Goff passed for 256 yards and four touchdowns in the 36-27 win, including two scoring tosses to Amon-Ra St. Brown. The second-year receiver, a fourth-round pick in 2021, gained 184 total yards.

“Really, the only thing he didn’t have (coming out of college) is that he wasn’t a 4.3 (40-yard dash) guy,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. “But everything else were traits that we felt fit us and he’d be a natural fit for the slot.”

Top back D’Andre Swift contributed 87 total yards and a receiving touchdown but is battling an ankle injury and missed practice on Wednesday. He is expected to play on Sunday, though.

“As long as we can run the football and take a lot of stress off (Goff) and everybody else, I think it goes a long way,” Campbell said. “The quarterback’s best friend is the run game.”

Lions defensive lineman John Cominsky will be out after undergoing hand surgery. Vikings defensive backs Harrison Smith (concussion) and Andrew Booth Jr. (quadriceps) didn’t practice on Wednesday.

The Lions snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Vikings with a 29-27 triumph last December. Goff threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns with St. Brown making 10 receptions for 86 yards and a score. Cousins passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Justin Jefferson, who caught 11 passes for 182 yards.

–Field Level Media