MINNEAPOLIS — Kirk Cousins took a big-picture view following the Minnesota Vikings’ season-ending loss to the Chicago Bears at US Bank Stadium.
“This is only year one,” the Vikings’ quarterback said following as 20-for-32 performance in the team’s 24-10 loss. “There are times in a season where I say, ‘boy, you give me another OTAs, another mini camp, another training camp that builds up a library of reps with these guys and get audibles and code words and go a little deeper with each guy and what their skill set is and what they do well, you could add layers to this offense and I’m excited about that.’”
Cousins and the Vikings put together just 164 total yards in the defeat, which combined with a win by the Philadelphia Eagles, eliminated them from the playoffs. Minnesota now will sit home during the postseason for the third time in five years under Mike Zimmer.
As far as answers for Sunday’s loss, Cousins did not have many in his post-game press conference, saying: “Combination of factors. Not any one thing. Just a combination. I’d have to go back to watch the tape to give you a clearer answer.”
Coming up short against the Bears marks the second time in his career in which Cousins had a Week 17 game hold the keys to the playoffs. The last time came in 2016 against the New York Giants. His team suffered a 19-10 loss.
“It’s part of the journey,” Cousins said. “You play in this league long enough, you’re going to get kicked in the teeth. It’s going to happen. Tough times don’t last, tough people do, right?”
He finishes the year with a 70.1 percent completion percentage, 4,298 yards, 30 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 99.7 rating. In his four years as a starting quarterback, Cousins’ team has finished between 7-9 and 9-7.
“I’m always going to look at glass-half-full and always look forward with optimism,” he said.
On facing an offseason that is sure to be full of scrutiny because of the final result versus high expectations heading into 2018, Cousins said:
”Thirty-one teams are unhappy at the end of the year and don’t live up to what the goal was. That’s what you sign up for and you understand that. You want to be the one that’s happy but there’s 31 teams that aren’t. So I don’t know that you don’t win you say, ‘we didn’t do this or didn’t do that.’ I think you realize we’ve got to get better.”