The Vikings fell short of their goal in the 2020 season, but quarterback Kirk Cousins will be active in a different fashion during the week leading up to Super Bowl LV.
Cousins joined NFL Network's Good Morning Football Monday to talk about a variety of topics, including his involvement as an ambassador through the NFL with International Justice Mission.
Based out of the Washington, D.C., area, IJM is a global organization that partners with local justice systems, community partners and advocates like Cousins to combat human trafficking.
Cousins explained the organization's emphasis during Super Bowl Week:
"International Justice Mission … is really the world's leader in combatting human trafficking, modern-day slavery," Cousins said. "There's currently 40 million people trapped in modern-day trafficking, so it's a very real problem. During Super Bowl Week, human trafficking occurs every single year in the host city. The NFL, to [its] credit, wants to bring attention to that.
"This is an issue of human trafficking that does occur domestically, but it operates in the darkness. It succeeds behind the scenes, so we want to bring it to the light," Cousins continued. "And we want to bring awareness to the issue, bring awareness to what International Justice Mission is doing all over the world and use the Super Bowl and the platform of football to be able to bring light to the issue."
GMFB's Peter Schrager thanked Cousins on behalf of himself and fellow hosts Kyle Brandt, Kay Adams and Nate Burleson.
"There's a lot of people who will be talking [during Super Bowl Week] about different products and different brands," Schrager said. "For you to devote your time to something like a mission that IJM does, it says a lot about you, and it says a lot about your mission and what you're all about."
Below are other topics Cousins covered with the GMFB crew:
Reflecting on the 2020 season
The ability of all 32 teams to get through a complete season despite the COVID-19 pandemic was a proverbial win for the NFL, but Cousins and the Vikings were far from satisfied with a 7-9 record and missing the playoffs.
Asked about his third season in Purple, Cousins responded, "Well, it's about wins and losses, so you start there."
"We went 7-9, so there's a lot of room for improvement," he said. "I'm encouraged by how many young players played this past season, and I think in 2021 that will pay dividends both on defense and offense."
He added: "I think we have a good core group that did a lot of positive things and we can take another step, certainly."
Expecting 'big things' from Justin Jefferson
Cousins said he was "thrilled" with Justin Jefferson's record-setting rookie campaign.
"We expect big things out of [Justin] in the years to come," Cousins noted.
The quarterback called Jefferson a "natural talent" whom the Vikings were fortunate to snag with the 22nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.t
"Playing the position comes natural to him, he catches the ball so well, he can separate well versus man coverage, he's tremendous after the catch. You see him break tackles and finish the play for the touchdown. And he's a great teammate," Cousins said. "He's only going to get better as he gets more experience in this league and learns how it all works. It helps to have a guy like Adam Thielen there every step of the way to kind of coach him and mentor him to some degree.
"Anytime you're in a conversation with Randy Moss and you're physically doing things he did, you're in the right company. Now we've got to build on it," Cousins added. "As I challenged him at the end of the season, it's not about one year. It's about two, three, four, five years and putting it together where you look back after a decade and now you're in the talk with Randy Moss for all-time stats and not just rookie-year stats."
Behind the Week 17 'Griddy'
It may have taken all season, but Cousins broke out his best attempt at the "Griddy" in Week 17.
The 32-year-old dad of two was asked about what went into the dance moves and if he practiced for the touchdown celebration that's gained national exposure thanks to Jefferson.
"For several weeks, I had told Justin that if I ever scored a rushing touchdown, I would do it. I'm not going to do it after a passing touchdown," Cousins laughed. "But we called that quarterback sneak at the end of the game, the last game of the year, and I told Justin, 'If I get in here on this sneak, you better find me in the end zone.'
"And before I could even get up off the ground, he was sprinting over from his receiver position and smiling, like, 'You better do it,' " Cousins continued. "What I was disappointed about was that only one or two offensive linemen joined me. Next time, I want to see the entire offensive line doing it with me. So there's room for improvement."