After adding the best numbers of his career during the first 15 games, Cousins had his worst performance of the season in a do-or-die situation. He ended with a 74.3 passer rating after throwing one touchdown, two interceptions and being chased four times.
The Giants won 19-10 and halted Washington from back to back appearances in the play offs. Throughout his period with the Redskins, Cousins led his team into the playoffs only once.
Two decades after, the quarter back the Vikings ensured $84 million for the subsequent three years reaches his shot at salvation, facing the same position in Week 17 together with Minnesota’s play off opportunities coming down to a win within a divisional rival.
On Sundaythe NFC North champion Chicago Bears come to town hoping to terminate the Vikings’ season and avoid having to potentially play with them in the wild card round.
That identical afternoon, the Vikings will probably figure out whether their investment in Cousins is paying off.
The Vikings bid adieu into instance Keenum, who made them into the NFC Championship Game a year ago, because they weren’t sure he can lead the following deep playoff series. The individuality of Mike Zimmer’s Vikings is suspended in a stout defense that wins games with an offense expected to maintain its end, but Minnesota brought in Cousins to get these types of games.
Forget Cousins’ listing in primetime games and if they could do on the big stage. Forget that which he’s already done this season, stretching toward the most notable in business records and also orchestrating a top-10 passing attack. There’therefore nothing larger than the win-and-in situation Cousins is going to face and the allencompassing temperament of the nerves, excitement and pressure that he’ll need to play through with so much at stake.
“I joke with people that when the mathematics educator junior year of high school said ‘Hey, we’t made a pop quiz,’ you start to have the butterflies as you want to prosper, it matters to you,” Cousins said. “Honestly, I think if I’ve butterflies, I play with a bit better as it heightens your awareness and your attention to detail and your awareness of urgency. I’t always believed that whenever I step onto the field regardless of game those are there Sunday afternoon.”
Surethe Vikings could earn a spot in the postseason with a loss to the Bears, but would mean the Philadelphia Eagles could need to lose to the Redskins. All week Cousins, both Zimmer and many others have echoed the identical sentiment: They need to take charge of their destiny instead of straight back in to the play offs.
Cousins’ many crucial advantage in Week 17 is largely where this match is being playedwith. The Vikings’ defense has thrived at U.S. Bank Stadium, assisting bail the crime out sometimes when it has found itself in sticky situations over the last two decades.
The matter is not if Cousins should have his best performance of the year with every thing on the line. But he will need to be better than he was in a 25-20 loss to the Bears in Week 11 when he threw two interceptions.
“We know what’therefore at stake,” said Cousins, who encounters a Bears defense that has allowed a normal QBR of 51 this year old. “You’ve been lots of games this year where I’t awarded what I’ve and we don’t come out on top and I don’t have a excellent match. However there’s been (matches ) where I really do this specific same procedure and it’s good enough and I play with at a really substantial degree or people play with at a very substantial level. We only need to be the greatest team that night”
Zimmer needed a three-hour ending up in Cousins before training camp to go over expectations for this growing season. It’s something the Vikings coach has had to do frequently since he came in Minnesota in 2014 given the accelerated rate of fresh quarterbacks who came annually after year.
“He asked what I wanted from him and that which they could do to help and people kind of stuff,” Zimmer said. “It wasn’t just like you’ve got to try so or you must do this”
Zimmer learned from this meeting and during this season simply how much of a pleaser Cousins is. With that could come the probability of attempting to playing tight or to accomplish an excessive amount, which Zimmer says he hasn’t noticed from his franchise QB.
“He wishes to do well for the team,” Zimmer said. “He wishes to accomplish great for everybody. I really don’t feel that he tries to be cautious if that is what you’re asking.”
The last time the Vikings faced a situation when a shot at the match came to the final game happened during Christian Ponder’s next season in 2012. Minnesota beat Green Bay to get the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs in one of the better performances of Ponder’s livelihood.
Minnesota will start to yield its yield on investment based mostly on if Cousins can consider this team into the play offs.