Whether Sunday’s overtime win over the Saints represented a glitch in the matrix or the busting through of a ceiling for quarterback Kirk Cousins remains to be seen. But Cousins’ ability to make two huge throws in a huge game has him hoping that he finally has landed in an NFL sweet spot.
“You want to play the position of quarterback as a CEO and just as a stone-cold killer, and you don’t want to ride this emotional rollercoaster,” Cousins told Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy of NBC’s Football Night in America. “I think if I do that I can start to make poor decisions with the football. And so I try to be very calm, cool, collected. But really who I am is an emotional guy, an intense guy. I love to play with passion, but I try to find that balance.”
Fans root with passion, and plenty of them (and media) have let Cousins hear it when things don’t go well. He definitely hears it.
“It’s pretty hard not to hear it,” Cousins said, adding that he tries to be influenced only by people in the building.
He’s not resting on finally getting a signature win, because he knows that the reward is an even bigger challenge.
“It’s such a results-based business,” Cousins said. “The bigger the moment, the more important that you deliver.”
For Vikings fans who are used to getting on the porch but never across the threshold, Saturday’s game is both an opportunity to continue the quest to kick in the door but a reminder of all of the failed efforts of past years.
“After one of our tough losses this year, I remember getting on the buses and I saw a fan in a purple and yellow T-shirt and all it said on it, ‘Just Once in My Lifetime,'” Cousins told Dungy. “And what they mean is a world championship. And so you want to deliver that, with everything you have, you want to deliver that. And that’s why we work so hard. And so, what better time than right now? Here we are in the divisional round, so one game at a time. We’ve got to get [past] the 49ers, and it’s not going to be easy. When you’re this close, it certainly gets exciting.”
So close. Yet so far. To get there, Cousins and company will need to complete the 1987 team’s Saints-and-San-Fran-in-six-days feat, followed by a win at Green Bay or Seattle followed by a win in Miami over the Ravens, Chiefs, Texans, or Titans.
But for each of the eight teams left, the effort to win three games come one at a time. And the Vikings are as dangerous as any of them, because they not only have the talent and the coaching to win but also the “nothing to lose” mentality that makes it easier to not worry about the pressure of the moment and to bring a different T-shirt slogan to fruition: “Go Get It.”