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Kirk Cousins: 'I Came Here for the Chance to Win'

EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins didn't have time at his introductory press conference to read off the lengthy list of why he's the new quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

But Cousins made sure the primary reason was clearly known.

"I would be here a long time if I were to read off the grocery list of reasons why this is the right fit," Cousins said at the first press conference at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. "But for the sake of time, winning is what I said it would be all about, and it's true. I came here for the chance to win. Probably the best chance. That is all that matters in this business.

"More importantly than that, the chance to win comes from the fact that I believe in the leadership of this organization. There has to be a commitment to win from ownership. The ownership, the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback have to all be on the same page," Cousins added. "I feel very good about that dynamic here. Everything rises and falls on leaderships. I believe the leadership here is in place to be able to win a lot of football games."

The Vikings **announced the signing** of Cousins on Thursday, a day after the beginning of the 2018 league year and the free agency frenzy.

Cousins joins a Vikings team that went 13-3 and won the NFC North in 2017 while advancing to the NFC title game.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings had a "rare and unique opportunity to go out and sign a quarterback of this caliber." He emphasized that Minnesota's objective of winning a Super Bowl has not changed.

"Our goal and objective every year is to [win a Super Bowl], that's what we do," Spielman said in a session with reporters. "I think if you talk to 31 other teams, their goal and objective is to win a Super Bowl, or why are you in this business? But with the resources provided by the Wilf family, I know that it's going to give us an opportunity at least to go out there and be competitive week-in and week-out.

"You can't predict injuries, you can't predict how the ball bounces sometimes," Spielman added, "but I know that we believe we're doing things the right way to give us an opportunity every year to go and compete for a championship."

Cousins joins the Vikings after being Washington's starter for the past three seasons.

He played in all 48 games and threw for 13,176 yards and 81 touchdowns during that span, while compiling a passer rating of 97.6.

Cousins is one of five quarterbacks who has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in each of the past three seasons. Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford also have accomplished that feat.

He'll join an offense in Minnesota that features an All-Pro wide receiver in Adam Thielen and a dynamic running back tandem in Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. Stefon Diggs has the second-most receiving yards of any player from the 2015 NFL Draft despite being a fifth-round pick, and tight end Kyle Rudolph has 20 touchdown catches over the past three seasons.

"When you take a look at the offense, I could go on and I'd probably leave someone out if I named them all," Cousins said. "Again, it's a testament to the leadership of this organization with the way they've drafted, the way they've handled free agency, the way they've structured things. Those rosters don't happen by accident.

"I'm very fortunate to be walking into this locker room. Not just the talent, but the people and the men. That's what's really important to me. Because ultimately, you win with people," Cousins said. "I'm excited about that opportunity and just can't wait to get to work and get to know these guys and assimilate into an already really strong culture. Just see how and where I fit, do all I can to help win football games."

Factor in Minnesota's defense, which ranked first in the NFL in 2017 in both yards and points allowed per game, and the Vikings have playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive end Everson Griffen were All-Pro selections in 2017, while linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Linval Joseph made their third and second straight trips to the Pro Bowl, respectively. And linebacker Eric Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in each of his first three seasons in the league.

Cousins had plenty of options when he hit free agency for the first time as a professional.

Yet as he surveyed the rosters around the NFL and landed on the Vikings, his choice became clear.

"There are many, many positives," Cousins said about joining the Vikings. "Ultimately, the pitch is, 'Will we win football games?', and the answer here is I believe we will.

"It is not going to come by signing a contract. There is a lot of work to be done," Cousins added. "I believe the pieces are in place and if we stay humble and hungry, I am really excited about the potential that exists here."

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