The Vikings season has been nothing short of chaotic. A 13-4 record with a negative 3 point differential. This is unheard of in NFL history and has been a wild ride. Almost every win has come in the final moments, and Kirk Cousins has been a major part of the Vikings playoff push. His 8 game winning drives are atop the NFL and his clutch throws in the late stages have given the Vikings the edge. He leads the NFL in fourth quarter overtime yards and touchdowns.. He is rewriting the narrative that he fades in clutch moments. To truly see how good Cousins has been this year, we must recap and look back at his key moments this season.
Week 3 vs Lions:
This was the first of many close finishes for the Vikings this year. Trailing by 14 in the first quarter and 10 in the fourth, the Vikings had stormed back to cut the lead to 24-21. A late Austin Seibert miss gave the Vikings the ball at their own 44. It only took 3 plays for Cousins to connect with K.J. Osborn for 28 yards to propel the Vikings to a 28-24 victory putting them at 2-1.
Week 4 vs Saints:
No one will soon forget this London thriller. In the late stages of the game, the Vikings were tied up 25-25. Starting at their own 18 yard line with under 2 minutes to go, the offense was able to march down to the Saints 29 yard line to set up a Greg Joseph field goal that would ultimately prove to be the winning kick. A Dalvin Cook 14 yard run and a 39 yard bomb from Cousins to Jefferson set up the 28-25 victory and moved the Vikings to 3-1.
Week 5 vs Bears:
For the third week in a row, the Vikings were caught in a late battle. The team watched a 21-3 lead vanish while the Bears took a 22-21 lead with under 10 minutes to play. The 17 play, 75 yard drive that ensued was remarkable. A long, sustained drive that involved 2 huge catches from Irv Smith and a QB sneak from Cousins was ultimately the decider. The Vikings chewed 7 minutes off the clock and came away with the 29-22 victory and a 4-1 start to the year.
Week 9 vs Commanders:
A tough battle in Washington came down to another final Vikings drive. Cousins had battled through multiple hits from a tough Washington front all game and hoped to pull off a gritty win. With just over 6 minutes left, Cousins was able to lead a 15 play, 44 yard drive that burned the rest of the clock. It ended in a Greg Joseph 28 yard field goal with 12 seconds left. A sustained drive that completed the fourth quarter comeback and put the Vikings at 7-1 with a 20-17 victory.
Week 10 vs Bills:
Undoubtedly the Vikings signature win of the season, a rainy game in hostile territory against a legit Buffalo Bills team. An overtime drive that resulted in a 33 yard field goal by Greg Joseph. The signature play from the 12 play, 60 yard drive was a 24 yard connection to Justin Jefferson that put the Vikings at the 2 yard line. A Patrick Peterson interception ended the game with a final score of 33-30 and completed the 17 point second half comeback to send the Vikings at 8-1.
Week 12 vs Patriots:
A Thanksgiving thriller! An uncommon dominant primetime game from Cousins with a statline of 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. The deciding drive came early in the fourth quarter with a roughing the kicker penalty that set up a Jefferson 36 yard catch and then capped off with a 15 yard touchdown from Cousins to Adam Thielen. This 33-26 Thanksgiving win was crucial for Cousins’ appearance in the media and pushed the Vikings to 9-2.
Week 15 vs Colts:
A historic comeback that had never been seen before in the NFL. Down 33-0 at halftime, the Vikings put on a show in the second half. Cousins was electric with over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in the second half. It took overtime to decide this one and after multiple punts, the offense finished the job. Cousins hit each of his wide receiver trio once in the final drive to set up a Greg Joseph 40 yard winner. This capped off the largest comeback in NFL history with a 39-36 win and gave the Vikings a record of 11-3 and the NFC North title.
Week 16 vs Giants:
The Christmas Eve showdown between the Vikings and Giants lived up to the hype. Two playoff teams dueling it out in a winter whiteout. The final drive consisted of 2 big catches from Jefferson to get the Vikings down the field, but the real hero in this one was Greg Joseph once again. A career high 61 yard field goal with no time remaining won it for the Vikings 27-24. This put them at 12-3 for the season.
Even for those who aren’t fans of Kirk Cousins, it is difficult not to applaud his impressive statistics. An NFL record for game winning drives is undoubtedly a mark for a clutch quarterback. Cousins will have more to prove and will need multiple playoff wins this year to get the haters off his back. This crazy Vikings season full of twists and turns will surely be remembered for years to come.