Cousins on overcoming receiver drama: ‘this is not my first rodeo’

The Minnesota Vikings were in the national spotlight all week as they were the center of debate shows on Tuesday over Kirk Cousins’ apology to receiver Adam Thielen and then on Thursday and Friday due to Stefon Diggs’ decision to skip Wednesday’s practice (and incur a $200,000 fine). On Sunday, Cousins threw the ball all over the New York Giants, racking up 306 yards, 130 of which went in Thielen’s direction.

Following the game, Cousins was asked about the unique nature of the days leading up to the Vikings’ matchup at MetLife Stadium.

“You want everybody there that you also understand that this is a business and people have decisions that they have to make, you know this is not my first rodeo,” Cousins said. “I think some of these questions are being asked like I’m a rookie and I’ve never experienced this before. This is Year 8 for me and I’ve played with some big name receivers who have done great things in this league before that aren’t named Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.”

“My relationship with those guys has been outstanding from Day 1 until now and I’m not surprised by what this league can throw at you,” Cousins added.

According to multiple reports Diggs was unhappy with the Vikings offense trending more toward the run game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport also mentioned frustration over being the No. 2 behind Thielen, which Diggs certainly was again on Sunday, catching three passes for 44 yards.

“I think he’s one of the best players in the world,” Cousins said of Diggs. “I’m absolutely thrilled that he’s on our team. I know that his role on our team allows Adam [Thielen] to get the day that Adam had. When he has a big day it comes from the fact that Adam draws a lot of attention. Teams cannot bring a safety to one side or another. If they do we’re excited about that opportunity to work one or the other. They compliment one another.”

Heading into New York the Vikings ranked 31st in passing offense and the Diggs/Thielen combination added up to just 26 receptions. Part of the struggles to put up big numbers were blamed on two blowouts but the passing game was ineffective in both NFC North battles. Against Green Bay Diggs had just one catch and Thielen had only one versus Chicago.

ā€œI thought it was pretty cool to see the guys’ mindset, come into work every day,” Thielen told the TC media. “We trust Kirk a lot because he doesn’t care what people say about him, he just comes to work, he does everything he has to do, and he goes and balls-out like he did today.ā€

Despite the strong overall performance, Cousins still felt the offense could have tacked on a few more points.

“I still feel like we left some out there with the red zone where we had to kick field goals and then the fumble,” he said. “I feel like we could have had an even better day offensively.”