A matchup against the New York Giants was exactly what struggling Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins needed in Week 5.
Following several down performances, the veteran quarterback went off for 306 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-10 victory over the Giants on Sunday.
The loss was the first of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones’ career, whose 21-of-38, 182-yard, one-touchdown outing was admirable, but not nearly enough behind an offensive line that left him out to dry.
Jones was sacked four times on the day as he was unable to bail out a defense that had no answers for Minnesota’s attack.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen led the aerial game with seven receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns while running back Dalvin Cook ran rampant for 132 rushing yards and 86 receiving yards.
Minnesota’s playmakers did most of their damage in the first half to relegate the Giants in an early hole.
New York was lucky to get to the halftime break down by only two possessions considering the Vikings monopolized possession in the opening two quarters.
Minnesota had the ball for 20:40 of the first half — outgaining the Giants 351-99 — while New York had the ball for just 9:20.
Cousins — who had drawn the ire of his top receiver, Thielen, after struggles in recent weeks — got back on track against the Giants’ porous defense.
The two hooked up for 121 yards on six receptions in the first half while Vikings running back Dalvin Cook had a combined 133 total yards (86 receiving).
Thielen’s touchdown put the Vikings up 10-0 five seconds into the second quarter before Jones quickly found an answer to get the Giants on board.
Following a 52-yard kick-off return by rookie Corey Ballentine, Jones hit fellow rookie Darius Slayton for a 35-yard touchdown to cap off a 50-yard drive.
The Giants defense managed to hold firm despite bending plenty. After allowing a 48-yard field goal to Bailey, the Vikings looked poised to get in the end zone when Cook got loose for a 19-yard rush down near the Giants goal line, but safety Jabrill Peppers jarred the ball loose to create a turnover and get New York off the hook.
Unfortunately for them, Pat Shurmur called a predictable rush up the middle with rookie running back Jonathan Hillman on the one-yard line that the Vikings snuffed out with ease for a safety.
Hillman became the No. 1 for the Giants on Sunday after Wayne Gallman was forced to exit with a concussion.
The Giants took seven-and-a-half minutes to start the third quarter to settle for a field goal, which was quickly canceled out by Theilen’s second touchdown reception of the day, a nine-yard catch to go up 15.
It’s not going to get any easier for the Giants as they have a short turnaround in a Thursday-night matchup with the New England Patriots on Thursday night in Foxborough.