The last time the Minnesota Vikings started 1-5, Leslie Frazier was fired as head coach in the offseason, and Mike Zimmer took over.
In order to keep history from repeating, quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw three INTs for the second time this season in a 40-23 loss to the previously winless Atlanta Falcons, knows he must quit turning the ball over.
"The reality is if the pace I'm on in terms of the interceptions, if that were to continue, I won't finish the season," Cousins said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. "I won't -- you know what I mean? There's a little bit of, you got to improve. Whether it's them telling me, 'Hey, we gotta improve,' or them pulling me; we got to get better. That's what the rest of the season will be about for me, is trying to protect the football as best I can. Because when you turn the ball over, it really hurts your chances to win. I know that. I just need to improve as we look ahead to the rest of the season."
Sean Mannion is the only other QB currently on the Vikings roster.
Cousins' three-INT day was the fifth time he's thrown three or more interceptions in a game during his career. Two of those instances have come in 2020 (Week 2 at Indianapolis).
Through six games, Cousins already has 10 INTs. Last year he had six total in 15 starts. His career-high is 13 in 2017 with Washington in 16 games. Cousins' current pace would put him at 26.6 interceptions for a full slate.
"I need to correct it," Cousins said. "I need to finish the season with a different story, regarding the interceptions, so that's something I need to improve with the remaining games we have. I don't know that I'd limit it to the interceptions. I think it's just the entire offensive performance. It's just, I need to be better, we need to be better."
Cousins' turnovers wiped away any chance the Vikings had to keep the floundering Falcons from having life. The issues started from the first play from scrimmage, on which Cousins tried to fit a pass to rookie Justin Jefferson, who was surrounded by four defenders. Linebacker Deion Jones dropped into the zone for the relatively easy pick.
"I thought the first one was the worst one, if you will," Cousins said of his three interceptions. "First play of the game, and the coverage was not confusing. It was just a zone drop, and I simply forced the football into coverage, tried to do too much. That's a mistake I may have made in Year 1, but I'm disappointed that I would do that now."
Cousins' rookie mistakes have cost the Vikings big this season. Heading into the bye week, Minnesota and the QB must figure out how to right the ship, or Zimmer's seat will continue to get hotter, and a new coach could be at the helm come January.