On Sunday, after the Minnesota Vikings fell to 2-2 with a 16-6 loss to the Chicago Bears, receiver Adam Thielen seemed to take a thinly veiled shot at quarterback Kirk Cousins and the coaching staff.
But on Monday, Thielen walked back his comments.
‘A very broad sense’
“My comments yesterday after the game [were meant in] a very broad sense, I think any team is going to tell you you can’t be one-dimensional. And that’s not a shot at anyone,” Thielen said Monday while speaking with media.
“That’s not take shots on coaches, players, nobody. That’s just saying ... That’s just being real and saying that you can’t just be a run team, you can’t just be a pass team and expect to have success in this league. You have to be able to do both well and that’s what we’re striving to be able to do.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer also came to the defense of Cousins a bit, particularly for his play against Chicago. Zimmer noted that pass protection has been an issue and was again against the Bears; Cousins was sacked six times and pressured frequently.
“There’s times where you’ve just got to pull the trigger, you’ve just got to believe that you’re going to make the throws,” Zimmer said of Cousins. “There were some times where he got the ball out really good. The one behind Adam, just a little bit behind him, he got that ball out good. There were some other ones. We’ve just got to keep working on it.”
‘You have to be able to throw the ball’
Minnesota had only 222 yards of offense and 15 first downs against the Bears; Cousins completed 27-of-36 passes, which of course looks good statistically. But there were the six sacks, and he fumbled twice. Minnesota converted just 5-of-13 third down attempts.
Despite having Cousins, Thielen and Stefon Diggs as centerpieces of the passing game, the Vikings have just 676 yards passing through four games, 31st in the NFL. But that’s not entirely their fault; Zimmer fired John DeFilippo, his offensive coordinator last year, because he thought he passed too much.
On Sunday, a frustrated Thielen said, “At some point, you're not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL. That's when you have to be able to throw the ball. ... You have to be able to hit the deep balls.”
Cousins is in Year 2 of a three-year, fully guaranteed contract, and he hasn’t quite lived up to the hype that accompanied his free agency and eventual signing. It wasn’t just against Chicago on Sunday; in Week 2, he threw an end zone interception that sealed a loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The quarterback generally owns his mistakes, but at some point he has to start making the corrections to avoid them.
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