EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins’ performance Sunday, Oct. 6 was good enough for him to hear from the president.
Vikings vice president of strategic and corporate communications Jeff Anderson said Monday the quarterback received a call from President Donald Trump after Minnesota’s 28-10 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Cousins completed 22 of 27 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
Trump has a “Keep America Great” rally scheduled for Thursday at the Target Center, but Anderson said that was not the focus of the call.
“President Trump called Kirk following (Sunday’s) game to briefly congratulate him and the Vikings on the win in New York,’’ Anderson said. “The focus of the call was not on Thursday’s rally, which Kirk will not be attending.”
WCCO-TV, which first reported the call, said a source said the “two briefly discussed the rally.’’
In 2017, Cousins, then with the Washington Redskins, played a round of golf with Trump.
Cousins bounced back Sunday after struggling in a 16-6 loss at Chicago on Sept. 29. Two days later, he apologized on his KFAN radio show for not getting receiver Adam Thielen the ball enough.
Thielen went from being idle (two catches for six yards) against the Bears to busy as he wanted to be (seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns) Sunday.
“I’m proud of Kirk Cousins,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “That’s our quarterback and people give him a lot of criticism and he goes out there each and every week and then plays his best. This was a great game for him.”
Not happy with Rhodes
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had an animated sideline conversation with cornerback Xavier Rhodes after he was beaten in the second quarter Sunday on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton.
“He got in bad position early and then he did not do a good job of catching up to him before he started looking back,” Zimmer said Monday.
Pro Football Focus ranks Rhodes as tied for 85th among 105 NFL cornerbacks this season. Zimmer was asked to access the play of Rhodes, who made two straight Pro Bowls before a subpar 2018 season.
“We have to clean up some technique with some of our defensive backs, not just him, but we’ve got some other guys that we need to clean up our technique,” Zimmer said. “At times throughout the game, they might be perfect 60-70 percent of the time but then the other 30 percent they get sloppy.”
Heavy load for Cook
Running back Dalvin Cook, bothered by injuries his first two seasons, is showing he can handle a heavy workload.
Cook missed the final 12 games of his 2017 rookie season with a torn ACL, then sat out five games last year with hamstring issues. He didn’t have any games last season of 20 or more carries.
In three of the first five games, Cook has had 20 or more attempts. On Sunday, he had 21 carries for 132 yards.
“When he has the ball in his hand, he’s very dangerous,” Zimmer said of Cook, second in the NFL with 542 yards rushing. “There’s so many ‘wow’ plays when he has the ball in his hands that he can do so much damage.”
— Pro Football Focus ranks Griffen as the 11th-best edge rusher. He has three sacks and has returned to his old form. Griffen made three straight Pro Bowls before missing five games last year with a mental health issue. “I’m playing good football,” he said. “I could always play better. … My No. 1 goal is to beat the guy in front me.”
— Ifeadi Odenigbo had his first NFL sack Sunday and played a career-high 28 snaps. Odenigbo, who made the team after being cut two straight years, is listed as a defensive end, but the Vikings have been using him as an inside rusher. “He worked real hard in the offseason, kept getting stronger and more athletic,” Zimmer said. “He came in here with a purpose.”
— With Mackensie Alexander out with elbow and groin injuries, Mike Hughes was the nickel back Sunday. Zimmer said Hughes had a “couple of bad” plays but mostly “played really well.” In his third game back after being out 11 months with a torn ACL, Hughes played 50 snaps.