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Cousins, Diggs, Rudolph, Spielman and Surprise by Zimmer Highlight Radio Sessions

Posted Apr 25, 2018

EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins and the Vikings have been busy “learning our ABCs, counting to 10” in the early days of the voluntary offseason workout program.

Players arrived at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center last week for workouts with strength and conditioning coaches. The offense has executed a few plays against air without the defense or coaches present, and players have met with coaches.

Cousins hasn’t gone up to the Vikings draft room or presented any requests to the Vikings personnel department for this year’s draft.

“I firmly believe in letting people do their jobs,” Cousins said Tuesday. “They’re hired for a reason, and you trust them to do their job. If I can’t trust them, then that’s not a good situation. I let them do their jobs, fully trust them, and they’ve got to trust me to do mine. Part of the reason I’m here is because I really believed in the people who are making those decisions and in the organization at the top. I look forward to seeing the direction we go.”

Preparation and attention to detail are what separates the good QBs in this league from the greats. In the first episode of The Wake Up Call, I sit down with projected #1 overall pick @JoshAllenQB Presented by @KB_VitaICE Full episode here: https://t.co/GkN3qcMAtm pic.twitter.com/iYv3kHnYGl

— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) April 25, 2018

The offseason signee during free agency said he does plan to follow this weekend’s draft, which starts at 7 p.m. (CT) Thursday.

“I’m a football fan, so I pay attention. I don’t really distance myself from the game too much when I get away,” Cousins said. “I do like to follow it.

“I like to know the league, understand who is on the different rosters and which direction teams are trying to go and the needs they’re trying to fill,” Cousins added. “I want to understand my opponent, so I’ll do the best I can and pay attention to it as the weekend goes. It will be fun to see the batch of young players we can bring in here who tend to have a major impact on the outcome of your initial season and the outcome of your career. I’m sure there will be a couple of names brought in here this weekend that will be a major difference for us going forward.”

Cousins also managed to get involved in the pre-draft process by conducting 1-on-1 interviews and learning sessions with prospects Josh Allen, Kurt Benkert and Kyle Lauletta for his video series, “The Wake Up Call.”

The first episode, “Josh Allen: Part 1,” debuted Wednesday, and Cousins talked about the series with “Voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen on KFAN 100.3-FM’s 9 to Noon show from TCO Studios.

Cousins explained that he sincerely appreciated the opportunity to meet with Jon Gruden before the 2012 NFL Draft. The process was so valuable that he has met with Gruden in years since and wanted to similarly help young quarterbacks.

“I ended up going to Jon every single offseason, flew down to Tampa and spent two-to-three days with him each offseason from then on because of the introduction that happened before,” Cousins told Allen. “I look back and wish there were more NFL quarterbacks who had reached out and said, ‘I’m an available resource. Here are some thoughts I have on your college film. Here are some thoughts I have on you entering the league.’

“If I had that from a veteran pro quarterback, that would have made a major difference for me,” he added. “So I wanted to make myself available and be able to reach out to these guys, get to know them a little bit, teach them a little bit about what the league is like and say, ‘I’m here for you if you need me going forward.’ It was great to introduce myself to them, get to know them, learn what makes them tick and how they’ve gotten to where they are and now be able to follow them through their careers up ahead.”

In the meantime, Cousins is studying up on another 2012 pick, new Vikings receiver Kendall Wright, who was drafted 20th overall by Tennessee. Cousins wound up going in the fourth round and teaming with Wright’s former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III in Washington.

“I’m watching cut-ups of Kendall Wright’s targets last year in Chicago so I can understand what he does well,” Cousins told Allen. “I’m just trying to learn the basics of players, which in year four, five and six in Washington, I wasn’t doing. I was trying to build on what I had already done in years one, two and three. That’s part of being new to the system and having a lot of new players around you. We’re all trying to learn the basics and carry that over into further development, which will show up in OTAs and minicamp.”

Diggs & Rudolph Discuss Schedule

Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph spent part of their Wednesday morning as simultaneous guests on 9 to Noon.

Allen asked Rudolph if the schedule release, which occurred last week, is as exciting for players as it is for fans.

Minnesota’s players have known their 2018 opponents since the end of the 2017 season, but they didn’t know the order of games.

Rudolph said players look for a few different things when the schedule is unveiled. 

“The first being bye weeks, Thursday night games, how do they lay out? Who do we play in December? Do we have really cold games? So things like that,” Rudolph said. “More logistical schedule things versus, ‘Who do we play?’

“Every year, it’s going to change,” Rudolph said. “Teams that you think are going to be really tough aren’t so tough, and teams that you may think had a down year the year before come back and are awesome. We know that we’ll have 16 tough games, and we’ll have to be ready for each and every one of them.”

Early reports erroneously had the Vikings opening 2018 against the Eagles in Philadelphia, but the rematch of the NFC Championship actually will occur in Week 5. The game generated the most buzz among Vikings fans in a Twitter poll last week.

Allen asked Diggs if Minnesota’s loss to the eventual Super Bowl champ bugs him.

“We put a lot of time and effort into what we do, and you know that. As far as the game specifically, no it doesn’t bug me,” Diggs said. “Do I look forward to playing them again? I would say yes. But at the same time, it’s something that’s in the past and something that we had to learn from.

“We had to go through it because we didn’t do the necessary things we had to do to win,” Diggs added. “Going forward, it’s playing together.”

Spielman describes creating scenarios

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman sat down for a full session with Allen and explained how he and the Vikings personnel department create scenarios their own to help coaches efficiently review prospects.

“We kind of go off what our board is,” Spielman said. “What I want to hone-in on is the potential combinations that are going to be there at 30. I have a pretty good sense of where the board is going to fall. I have a pretty good sense all the way through probably the fourth round on potential guys. I’ll put us in situations, ‘If we stay at the pick we’re at, and these three guys are available, how would you go? What’s the consensus?’

“I gave the coaches clusters throughout the draft where I think these guys will potentially be and had them hammer through the clusters as they see it, and then we put it all together,” Spielman added. “I’ll go ahead and make the decision when we’re on the clock.”

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer walked into the new TCO Studios with Spielman on Wednesday morning after a team meeting and traded a few comedic barbs in the four-minute video below.