The notion that the Jets and their fans would show Kirk Cousins firsthand what he was missing by bypassing their $90- million offer in free agency didn’t last particularly long.
Cousins tossed a 34-yard touchdown strike to favorite target Adam Thielen 1:38 into the game and led the Vikings to a 37-17 drubbing of Sam Darnold and the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“I think winning on the road is important in this league, and I’m just glad we were able to do that,” Cousins said. His Vikings had been 0-for-5 on the road against the Jets before Sunday.
“I have great respect for the Jets,’’ he added. “I think they’re building a team that’s going to be good for a lot of years. They have a very bright future and I have great respect for their coaching staff.
“I think the Jets are doing a lot of good things. Coach [Todd] Bowles has always been tough to go against. They have a great defense. They’re very pleased with Sam Darnold and what the future looks like.”
Cousins is correct that the Jets and their fans should be ecstatic about the way their quarterback situation worked out after he spurned them in free agency last spring. They traded up to No. 3 in the draft to land Darnold out of USC.
Cousins since has admitted essentially using the Jets’ three-year, $90-million offer as a way to prod Minnesota into upping its salary figures; he ultimately signed with the Vikings for three years and $84 million.
Still, Cousins stressed that he didn’t use any criticism over that decision as motivation for Sunday’s visit to the Meadowlands.
“I never read it, so I don’t even have any knowledge to be able to process it or incorporate it into my approach,” he said. “I try to believe that ignorance is bliss and I try to stay as ignorant as possible. I think that serves me well.”
The former Washington quarterback also has stressed that the fact that the Vikings are closer to Super Bowl contention was an important factor in his decision to sign with them instead of the Jets.
Cousins certainly got the better of the 21-year-old Darnold, completing 25 of 40 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Vikings improved to 4-2-1. His rookie counterpart was picked off three times and completed 40 percent of his pass attempts (17-for-42) for the Jets (3-4).
“There were a lot of positives today. Any time you score 37 points on the road, you’re doing something right,” the 30-year-old Cousins said. “But there were certainly a lot of places that weren’t good enough.
“When you have special teams giving you good field position and you have a defense giving you the ball back, it probably makes it look easier than it really was. That’s complementary football. That’s team football, and we’re so grateful for our defense and special teams with the way they played today because it gave us the opportunities to go back out there and score points.”