After Further Review, Thielen & Jefferson Were Both Open on 4th & 3 Heave

Photo: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

There were a lot of ugly plays in the Minnesota Vikings loss to the Green Bay Packers last weekend. I haven’t had a chance to watch the “All-22” yet, because it just released yesterday, but I paid $100 for NFL GamePass so you can be damn sure I will at some point.

There was one play I scrolled into on Twitter this morning, though. It’s the already-infamous “4th and 3” playcall, where Kirk Cousins threw a 50/50 ball up to Vikings superstar receiver, Tajae Sharpe. After watching it back with more context… it’s still terrible.


The play-call itself, was perfect. Kirk Cousins just throws to the only receiver on the field who he should have avoided. Cousins went to Sharpe because the safety was shading toward Thielen, pre-snap. If Kirk Cousins was making decisions based on pre-snap reads, then why didn’t he realize that his outlet on the play, Justin Jefferson, was 1v1 on Packers LB Preston Smith in the slot. Jefferson broke open as Kirk threw to Sharpe.

If Cousins were better at reading situations as they unfold in front of him, then he would have seen the safety lose himself in no-man’s land. When the ball is snapped, he doesn’t shade toward Thielen fast enough to stop the deep ball from connecting and was obviously nowhere near Tajae Sharpe.

In fact, there were multiple Packer defenders that rendered themselves useless on this play. Kirk’s mind was made up, though. He was going deep to Tajae Sharpe and that was final.

Breaking It Down

I want Kirk Cousins to be really good… but plays like this just make you wonder if he’s already reached his ceiling. I did a full breakdown with my whiteboard on Twitter. I’m not a football guy, but this play wasn’t football rocket science, either.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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