You like that? Cousins, Zimmer have statement win

Kirk Cousins, Vikings quarterback (⬆️ UP)

The much-maligned Cousins (can’t beat a good team or win a big game) completed 19 of 31 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s big 26-20 playoff win in New Orleans on Sunday. He had only one touchdown pass but it was kind of a key one – a scoring toss to Kyle Rudolph which culminated Minnesota’s scoring drive in overtime and not allowing Drew Brees and the Saints offense to take the field. You like that?

 

Mike Zimmer, Vikings head coach (⬆️ UP)

Zimmer’s job status was rumored to be uncertain last week – were the Cowboys looking to get him? — and the Wilfs even released a statement to counter those whispers saying Zim (and Rick Spielman) would be back. Zimmer rewarded that vote of confidence with playoff win on the road, the first for the Vikings since 2005. Dallas’ job is now filled. And guess what? So is Minnesota’s (in case you had any doubt).

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Twins brass (⬇️ DOWN)

Twins fans are still waiting for the offseason hammer to drop. Yeah, there’s been the signings of Rich Hill and Homer Bailey and Michael Pineda and Jake Odorizzi will be back. But of course, fans want a splashy move and the big-name pitchers are all off the table. Josh Donaldson is still out there, though. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue to make moves and get better.

 

Stefon Diggs, Vikings wide receiver (⬇️ DOWN)

Minnesota’s leading receiver this season has only two catches for 19 yards (and two runs for eight yards) in the Vikings’ wild-card win over New Orleans. He also threw a fit on sideline which was caught on camera (although he said it’s because he was double covered). He’ll likely needs to rebound as Minnesota has another tough matchup Saturday at top-seeded San Francisco.

 

Eric Staal, Wild forward (⬆️ UP)

Staal, recently named an All-Star, scored the game-winner in overtime on Saturday, his 70th career game-winning goal, which also was the Wild’s first overtime win of the season. Staal has 16 goals and 33 points in 43 games after posting 22 and 52 last season.

Marcus Foligno, Wild forward (⬆️ UP)

Foligno was promoted to a bigger role and it looks like his playing time is not going down anytime soon. And for good reason. Foligno had a pair of points in each of Minnesota’s last two games (three goals, one assist). He’s already matched his goal total from last year, seven, and is on pace to set career highs in just about every offensive category, such as goals, assists (currently nine, high 16) and plus/minus (+7, high +6 as a rookie).

 

Shabazz Napier, Wolves guard (⬆️ UP)

In case you forgot what Napier was like during UConn’s championship run in 2014, he’s shown a taste of it over the last week. Although he had a bit of a blip in Minnesota’s loss at Memphis on Tuesday night, Napier had topped 20 points in his previous four games – his longest such streak as a pro or in college. Even with his six-point outing against the Grizzlies, Napier still averaged 17.3 points on 57.1% shooting (42.9% from 3) and 5.3 assists in the Wolves’ four games over the last week. Napier might not be the point guard of the future, but the veteran is doing a good job of being one for the present.