Vikings' Kyle Rudolph Blasts Kirk Cousins' Critics After Upset Win vs. Saints

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIJanuary 5, 2020

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) pats tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) after Rudolph scored a touch down during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rey Del Rio)
Rey Del Rio/Associated Press

Kirk Cousins found Kyle Rudolph for the four-yard touchdown that secured the Minnesota Vikings' 26-20 overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints in their wild-card matchup Sunday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

It marked Cousins' first career playoff win and helped push back against the lingering narrative that the 31-year-old Vikings quarterback shrinks in big games.

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Kirk Cousins in Notable Games Entering 2019 Wild Card Playoff Games: 0-1 Vs Winning Teams: 6-30 Road Games: 17-26-2 Overtime Games: 0-2-2 - - - Cousins defeated the 13-3 Saints in the 2019 Wild Card on the road in overtime. Kirk. Daniel. Cousins. #Vikings | @Vikings

"I'm just glad Kirk can't win big games, apparently," Rudolph jabbed on the field postgame. "I think we proved that one wrong today."


"We knew it wasn't gonna be easy coming here." @vikings TE Kyle Rudolph is still holding the ball he caught to beat the Saints in OT! https://t.co/8Za3ewFMqh

The sixth-seeded Vikings were 7.5-point underdogs to the third-seeded Saints.

Cousins threw for 242 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on 19-of-31 passing.

"Ultimately, it's about the team," Cousins responded when asked about finally capturing his first postseason win, "and I'm just trying to do my part for this team. Help us win. And a quarterback carries weight. That comes with the job."

FOX Sports @FOXSports

"The Saints are the real deal, and this is an extremely tough environment." Kirk Cousins discusses how the @Vikings overcame adversity after acquiring his first win in the postseason ⬇️ https://t.co/vHlQVw2NhK

Cousins was a bit more emotional in the locker room:

Andy Mac @AndyMacSports

.@KirkCousins8 with the "YOU LIKE THAT" in the #Vikings lockerroom πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ https://t.co/4hnZLit6Iz

The 2012 fourth-round pick made several crucial throws throughout the day, including a 43-yard dime to Adam Thielen that set the Vikings up near the goal line in overtime:


Cousins goes deep to Thielen for a gain of 43 yards! #Skol #NFLPlayoffs πŸ“Ί: #MINvsNO on FOX πŸ“±: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/BngxhzS5KF https://t.co/Pnk96ldx1q

Cousins was helped by running back Dalvin Cook's 94 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. The 24-year-old Pro Bowler had missed the last two games with a shoulder injury.

The Vikings' win carries historical value outside of Cousins as the first time Minnesota has won a playoff game on the road since 2004, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin.

Minnesota entered the fourth quarter leading 20-10 and nearly squandered it away as the Saints scored 10 unanswered points, capped by a game-tying 49-yard field goal from Wil Lutz to send the contest to overtime.

The Vikings dominated the overtime period's opening drive, though, which prevented the Saints from touching the ball again. Cousins went 4-of-5 for 63 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

The top-seeded San Francisco 49ers now await the Vikings. Minnesota will visit the 13-3 Niners on Saturday afternoon in the NFC Divisional Round.