Getty Images

Kirk Cousins, fittingly, was the last player to exit Soldier Field after helping lead the Vikings to a 19-13 victory over the Bears on Monday night. The win marked the first for Cousins on "Monday Night Football," as the nine-year veteran had been winless in his previous nine starts on Monday night. 

Cousins, who left the field with the game ball in his hand, went 25 of 36 for 292 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His performance was a big reason why Minnesota, after a 1-5 start, is now 4-5 after winning three straight games against divisional opponents. 

"It was great to get a win," Cousins told ESPN's Lisa Salters after the game. "Needed that, but also, I got a hole to climb out of now. We gotta get a few more on Monday night. Hopefully, we can do that. Big team win, great to go back home with three straight." 

Despite facing the NFL's top-ranked third down defense, Cousins and the Vikings were 8 of 15 on third down on Monday night. Trailing 13-10 in the third quarter, Cousins' 54-yard completion to rookie receiver Justin Jefferson on a third-and-11 play set up the game-tying field goal. Facing a third-and-four on the Bears' six-yard-line on their ensuing drive, Cousins was able to connect with Adam Thielen for what turned out to be the game-winning score. 

"We were throwing on third down," Cousins said of the Vikings' success extending drives. "This was a really good defense on third down and in the red zone. We weren't running the ball as consistently as we have earlier in the year, but we were able to make enough plays. Defense really stood up all game long." 

Cousins, who threw more passes on Monday night than he had the previous two games combined, expected to throw more against a Bears defense that was expected to focus on Dalvin Cook, who had run for a combined 369 yards and five touchdowns in the Vikings previous two games. While he didn't run wild on Monday night, Cook finished with 96 yards on 30 yards after being held to 32 yards on 14 carries in the first half. 

"You knew they were probably going to be able to stop us running the ball for the most part," Cousins said of the Bears defense. "But we always stick to the run; we're not going to abandon it. But certainly, we felt like we were going to make some plays in the passing game. We made enough, but, it was also great plays from our defense that really helped."

After a rocky start to the season, Cousins and his teammates are now just two games behind the Seahawks for the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoff standings. While the Vikings' offense continues to make strides in the right direction, Minnesota's defense, which was ranked 27th in the league in scoring entering Monday night's game, held the Bears to just 149 total yards, 10 first downs and just 2 of 11 efficiency on third down. They also set up the game's first touchdown on Harrison Smith's first quarter interception. 

"Lot of football ahead," Cousins said. "At the bye week, we were 1-5. We knew we had 10 games left, and those 10 games were going to write the story. We dug ourselves a hole, but we slowly climbed out of it these last few weeks, and hopefully we can continue to do that in the weeks ahead." 

While Cousins was the man of the hour, he took a moment to offer his best wishes to his counterpart on Monday night, Bears quarterback Nick Foles, who was carted off the field after taking a hard hit during the final minute of the game. 

"My prayers go out to him," Cousins said of Foles, who was his college teammate for a brief time at Michigan State. "I just think the world of him, as a player and as a person."