Even from Atlanta, the anticipation in Kirk Cousins’ voice was clear.
The Vikings quarterback cold-called KFAN for a segment with Paul Allen on 9 to Noon and joked that he’s receiving some ribbing from his wife, Julie, and his in-laws for the amount of pacing he’s doing.
And it’s not only because Friday marked one day past the due date of their second child.
“We’re just waiting patiently,” Cousins said. “We’re going to have two boys, which should be fun. We’re almost halfway to a full basketball team.”
It’s not basketball that’s on Cousins’ mind, however.
“Honestly, I wish Week 1 was this coming Sunday,” he told Allen. “I understand OTAs and training camp are a part of the process, you have to build a foundation, but I’m ready to get this bad taste out of my mouth and get back to playing real football.”
Cousins told the “Voice of the Vikings” that he hasn’t slept well since the close of the season, when Minnesota finished its campaign 8-7-1 and fell short of the postseason.
He described himself as “on edge” because he knows just how good the Vikings can be.
“I’m frustrated,” Cousins said. “I just feel like we’re so much better than this, and we can – and will – be so much better. I can’t get wait to get back at it. My January, February and March has never felt so drawn out as this one has.
“I love the game, and I just can’t wait to take more steps,” said Cousins, who added that he’s been texting with teammates, including Pat Elflein, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. “We’re ready to get back to work, but it certainly was a frustrating end to the season.”
While Cousins has been waiting for football to pick back up, plenty has gone on within Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in the past two months.
The Vikings offensive coaching staff has been revamped, including removing the “interim” tag from Kevin Stefanski’s role as offensive coordinator and hiring Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak.
Cousins again referenced his first interaction with Stefanski when he met the coach (then a Vikings assistant) in 2012 at the Senior Bowl.
“I just always felt that he was the right kind of coach, that he would have success in this league, and I hoped my path would cross with his again,” Cousins recalled. “So the fact that he’ll be the coordinator, I think, is a great thing – not only for our team but specifically for me as the quarterback – we have really good dialogue, and he’s really self-aware. He just understands what you need to do to be a great coach in this league.”
Cousins went on to say that adding Kubiak to the staff is a “huge positive” for Minnesota’s offense.
“He’s going to provide some great experience and insight to our offense and to our team, both to [Head Coach Mike] Zimmer and to Coach Stefanski, and it really helps that Kevin [understands] the dynamic,” Cousins said. “He knows how to take charge and be the offensive coordinator and be the single voice in the room, and yet at the same time, allow Coach Kub’ to speak into things and to provide insight that will only help us be a better offense and Kevin be a better coach.
“I think having two guys like that in both Kub’ and Kevin, who are self-aware enough to work well together, I think it will be a really good fit for our team,” he added.
So then, what does Cousins expect the Vikings offense to look like in his second year in Purple?
The quarterback said he’s excited to see how it takes shape just like everybody else, but he has some idea of what the system will look like.
“I would think it’s going to be a combination of a lot of run schemes, but I would also think that that outside zone, stretch zone, fast zone, blocking scheme that has been somewhat unique to [offensive line coach/run game coordinator Rick Dennison] and Coach Kubiak, going back to the Denver and Houston days, I would think that that is going to be a strong piece of our run game,” Cousins said, “and that much of our offense will flow out of that when you get the play-action and the keepers and other pieces.
“I’m excited to see how it all marries together, but I also think – especially when you look at personnel, as well – we’ll have some other styles of run games, double teams and things that are more downhill,” he continued. “Just because in today’s NFL, you really have to be able to do it all.”