Kirk Cousins wanted to hit Adam Thielen on a quick in-breaking route, and upon seeing his wide receiver make his move, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback cocked his arm back to throw and started bringing the ball forward. But no sooner than he had, he located the cornerback and realized the Packers defender hadn’t played the route like he expected.
If he threw the ball, Cousins was either going to lead Thielen into a situation where he would have gotten leveled, or even worse, his pass would have been intercepted. So, he re-holstered, as he likes to call it. Cousins pulled the ball back, reset, pivoted and hit tight end Kyle Rudolph for an 11-yard gain and a first down.
Disaster averted. Chains moved. Hope preserved.
The play – one of the many key sequences in Minnesota’s 24-17 win over NFC North rival Green Bay on Sunday night – was exactly the display of poise and execution that the Vikings have needed from their quarterback. It was the kind of play that Cousins delivered far too infrequently in an ugly loss to Chicago one week earlier. But that play Sunday night, and many others like it, reflected one of the points of emphasis offensive coordinator John DeFilippo passed onto his quarterback throughout the practice week.
“When you hold the football in your hands,” Cousins said, relaying a message from the week, “you hold the livelihoods of a lot of people in that building and their families. And as one coach told me many times, ball security is job security. Yours and mine.”