On Sunday, fans of the Minnesota Vikings once again watched as their favorite team’s offense became overly conservative in the games most important moments. Especially staggering in their defeat to the Rams, were the red zone struggles. Unsuccessful runs turned into difficult third downs, which led to very few points off of very good opportunities. It was likely the difference in a near must have game.
It wasn’t just fans feeling the frustration of watching a team clam up in the most important part of the field. Superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who on Sunday became the leading receiver through two seasons in NFL history, voiced his concern with the offense’s approach.
“I think we should be more aggressive when we get down there,” Jefferson said. “As soon as we get down there. But I’m not the one calling the plays. I’m just here to do my job and do what’s told of me. But we can’t get down in the red zone that many times and come out with three points.”
Jefferson seems to be a level-headed, non-dramatic superstar, so concerns of another Stefon Diggs situation should be set aside, and most fans welcome this sore of honest comment after such a frustrating loss. One would think the quarterback would agree. But then one would be wrong.
Cousins responded saying “No, I think when you look back at the plays — you know — right off the turnover we called a pass and took a sack, so that drive kind of got set back because the first play we didn’t have a good productive play. We took a sack. So I go back and am hard on myself, saying, “How can I avoid the sack? How can I get the ball out quickly?” And so, you know, I think there were plenty of times to be aggressive and take our shots. We just didn’t make it happen when they were called.”
This marks the second time this season the Vikings signal-caller has shot down questions about aggressive play in his press conferences. After one of his best performances of the year, and his team’s signature win against the Green Bay Packers, Cousins and head coach Mike Zimmer engaged in a back-and-forth via press conferences over the quarterback’s willingness to take chances. Zimmer, like most of Minnesota, was happy to see Cousins put the ball down the field and take some risks. Cousins was quick to remind everybody that he needed to play within himself.
Whether he’s right or wrong, those comments and this response to Jefferson are part of the reason fans remain so divided cousins.
For what it’s worth, Zimmer didn’t take any exception to Jeffersons comments.