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Cousins apologizes to Thielen for missed opportunities

Two days removed from a missed opportunity in the Windy City, Kirk Cousins wants to atone for his misses.

The Vikings quarterback took to the airwaves Tuesday to address their loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, in which Minnesota mustered just six points and Cousins completed just two passes to star receiver Adam Thielen. It was Thielen, who spoke first in the game's aftermath, telling reporters Sunday, "You have to be able to throw the ball."

Upon reviewing his performance, Cousins agreed with the wideout.

"I really want to apologize to [Thielen] because there's too many opportunities where we could have hit him on Sunday," Cousins said on KFAN on Tuesday. "Postgame when I talk to the media I always say, 'Hey, until I watch the film, it's hard for me to really give you a straight answer.' Well, now it's Tuesday night. I've watched the film and the reality is there were opportunities for [Thielen].

"The one that's most obvious is the third-and-10 at the beginning of the game. We're near midfield. That's arguably seven points. If you put the ball where it needs to be, he's shown ... that he will make that play and he'll probably finish the play in the end zone and pull away from the defender."

The play to which Cousins is referring was Thielen's lone target in the first half, a third-and-10 deep ball from Chicago's 47-yard line. Cousins took 3.44 seconds to throw and eventually aired out a pass of 42.8 air yards. With 1.7 yards of separation when the ball landed, Thielen was considered open, but the ball was a yard or two ahead of his dive into the end zone.

Had Cousins connected with Thielen, Minnesota would've scored or soon pulled even with Chicago in the first quarter. Alas, Minnesota punted on its first of just two first-half possessions.

Thielen didn't see another target until 8:39 in the third quarter, another somewhat-deep pass that fell incomplete. The wideout finished with two catches on six targets for six yards, his lowest yardage total since Dec. 2016.

"Adam's not just a really good player or one of the best players on the Vikings, he's one of the best players in the NFL, one of the best players in the world, period, regardless of position," Cousins continued. "And so we want to, we need to ... I need to get him more opportunities, get him the football."

Through four weeks, Thielen is averaging just 3.3 catches and 5.5 targets per game, a far cry from last year's per-game average of 7.1 catches and 9.6 targets. Chalk it up to Minnesota's reliance on the run game in 2019, or Cousins focusing on other receivers like Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook -- Thielen is still Minnesota's most targeted player -- but the wideout's production isn't enough for anyone on the Vikings to bear.

Minnesota (2-2) will hope to correct that behavior this week against a vulnerable New York Giants secondary.

"If we run the ball successfully, if we run the ball more consistently, so be it," Cousins said. "But when we do take our shots, or we have our chances, we've got to hit them and the reality was I didn't. We didn't. That's where I think you're frustrated after a game and you're looking to improve going into the next week."

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