MINNEAPOLIS - When Kirk Cousins was watching Aaron Rodgers last Sunday night, he figured something special was about to happen.
The quarterback had returned from a sprained left knee suffered in the first half, and Green Bay was down 20-0 in the third quarter. But Rodgers engineered a dramatic comeback for a 24-23 Packers win.
"I found myself sitting on my couch as I watched, saying to my family and friends that I was watching with, 'He is probably going to bring them back,' '' Cousins said Wednesday.
Cousins, the Vikings quarterback, has been watching Rodgers closely for years, and on Sunday, Sept. 16, will face him for the third time in his career. That is, if Rodgers is cleared to play in the game at Lambeau Field, a prospect many believe is likely.
Rodgers has won a Super Bowl, twice has been NFL MVP and has been named to six Pro Bowls. Those are the type of accolades Cousins is looking to achieve.
"He has done a lot in his career,'' Cousins said. "Certainly something a guy like myself is chasing to achieve a lot of what he has already done. I tell him when I see guys like him, I just say, "I study you. I study you and watch your film and try to learn from you because you are a guy that I want to study and want to learn from.' "
Cousins' meetings with Rodgers have been confined to chatting with him three times on the field at games.
In 2013, when Cousins was a Washington backup, he watched from the sideline at Lambeau Field as Rodgers threw for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-20 Green Bay win.
In a 2015 playoff game at Washington, Cousins threw for 329 yards and a touchdown and Rodgers for 210 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-18 Packers win.
In 2016, though, Cousins did get the better of Rodgers. He threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns to 351 yards and three touchdowns for Rodgers in a 42-24 Redskins home win.
Now, Cousins will get to play at Lambeau Field for the first time.
"It a great, great stadium, a lot of history,'' said Cousins, who signed a three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings last March. "Looking forward to an opportunity to play there. ... It's a great opportunity to join this rivalry and hopefully put my best foot forward and get off to a great start.''
Whether Rodgers will join Cousins on the field remains to be seen. After the dramatic win over the Bears, Rodgers said he planned to play against the Vikings. But Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that no final decision had been made.
McCarthy reiterated that Wednesday. Rodgers didn't practice, instead working with the rehab group.
"I would say it's day-to-day,'' McCarthy said. "I think history will tell you he'll do everything he can to play. But, once again, it's Week 2 and we'll just stay the course.''
Rodgers confirmed to reporters in Green Bay on Wednesday that he suffered a sprained knee and said he had been "pretty sore" since Sunday.
"I want to play obviously," Rodgers said. "Just taking it one day at a time. See how it feels (Thursday) and see how it feels Friday, Saturday and hopefully ready to go Sunday."
The Vikings are expecting Rodgers to suit up.
"We know he's playing,'' said defensive end Everson Griffen. "I don't know if he's mobile. I don't know if he can run. We don't know anything, so we're just going into the game plan that he's running and we're going to go out there and execute our assignments."
In a conference call with Packers reporters, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, "He walks on water, so I'm sure he's going to play.''
Cousins also has plenty of reverence for Rodgers.
"(I've been) watching him for years now, knowing what he is capable of doing,'' Cousins said.