The Minnesota Vikings’ season came to an unfortunate end in Sunday’s Wild Card Round loss to the New York Giants.
Like many Vikings games in 2022, the contest came down to Minnesota’s final possession. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings were faced with a 4th and 8 situation at their own 48-yard line.
In what would be the final offensive play of the season, Cousins checked down to an underneath route ran by T.J. Hockenson, falling five yards shy of the line to gain.
6 yards short of the 1st down with your season on the line.— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 16, 2023
The Kirk Cousins experience is something. pic.twitter.com/oNkxhxt1Np
Cousins played well, finishing the afternoon 31/39 for 273 passing yards and three total touchdowns. However, his decision to throw to Hockenson is being highly scrutinized.
After the game, Cousins had the chance to address his decision in the final moments.
“I just felt like I was about to get sacked,” Cousins explained. “I just felt like I’ve gotta put the ball in play.”
Typically, quarterbacks look toward their best weapon with the game on the line. For the Vikings, that is Justin Jefferson. However, Cousins revealed that New York’s safety was shading Jefferson’s way, making for a throw into double coverage.
On the 4th down throw, Cousins said he saw Jefferson with safety help and felt a sack was imminent. So he threw to Hockenson short of the sticks because it was the only way he thought he could keep the play alive.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) January 16, 2023
While it’s a decision that fans won’t be able to shake from their memory for quite a while, this play shouldn’t define Cousins or the Vikings. After all, only one team wins its last game.
Featured image via Jeffrey Becker – USA TODAY Sports