Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo has enjoyed working with Kirk Cousins in the short time they’ve spent together in Minnesota thus far.
But while this is the first time their careers have met in the same spot, DeFilippo had an affinity for the quarterback years ago.
Ben Goessling recently interviewed DeFilippo, who talked about the first time he found himself impressed by Cousins.
“I’ve always been a fan of Kirk’s,” DeFilippo told Goessling. “I don’t know the exact grade I gave him when he was coming out of college, but I know I liked him a lot. I’ll never forget that speech he gave at Michigan State. That was part of the evaluation process, just being like, ‘Wow, this guy’s really impressive.’ … Seeing the way he moves, the way he throws, I’ve always admired him from afar.”
Goessling wrote that “something clicked” between DeFilippo and Cousins during a brief exchange in Indianapolis before the 2012 NFL Draft. Now six-plus years later, DeFilippo no longer will be watching from a distance.
Goessling recapped the timeline following Super Bowl LII, when DeFilippo – then the Eagles quarterbacks coach – joined the Vikings and supported the decision to sign Cousins in free agency. Goessling wrote:
DeFilippo called the Vikings quarterback search as thorough a process as he’s gone through. He would not name names, but said he evaluated more quarterbacks with [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer, General Manager Rick Spielman and QB coach Kevin Stefanski than just Cousins and the Vikings three free [agent quarterbacks].
But eventually, the search zeroed in on Cousins.
Now the first stages of working together, Goessling wrote, “have shown the coordinator and the quarterback that one has what the other needs.”
“The guys in Philly used to make fun of me,” DeFilippo told Goessling. “We all need to be pushed, and there’s no pushback from [Cousins]. We’ll be in the film room, and those other guys on offense hear the second-highest-paid player in the league getting his butt chewed a little bit.
“There’s no prima donnas around here,” DeFilippo added. “I think that’s why he and I both made a transition into this culture, because those are qualities he and I both believe in.”
*Cook has opportunity in 2018 for ‘gaudy numbers’ *
Dalvin Cook’s rookie season was cut short by a torn ACL, but the running back has high aspirations for the upcoming season.
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton on Monday morning posted a lineup of “NFL Players in best position to break out in 2018,” and he topped the list with Cook.
Moton reminded readers that Cook’s 354 rushing yards “ranked third among all ball carriers” before his injury against the Lions in Week 4. He wrote:
*Quarterback Kirk Cousins comes over from the Washington Redskins in an offense that yielded 54 targets to running back Chris Thompson, who finished the year with 39 receptions for 510 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. The 29-year-old signal-caller knows how to utilize receiving threats out of the backfield, which bodes well for Cook. *
Running back Jerick McKinnon signed with the San Francisco 49ers, which leaves a prominent role alongside Latavius Murray open for Cook upon his return. The second-year ball-carrier should have the workload on the ground and the opportunities through to air to produce gaudy numbers.
Included behind Cook on Moton’s list for potential breakouts were – in order – Dolphins WR DeVante Parker, Colts WR Ryan Grant, Browns TE David Njoku, Seahawks DE Dion Jordan, Bills DE Shaq Lawson, Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin and 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon.
Terence Newman throwback makes the social media rounds
It’s been quite a while since Terence Newman played on special teams.
The cornerback is returning with the Vikings for his 16th NFL season and fourth in Minnesota, but over the weekend he retweeted a throwback video that showed Newman recovering a blocked extra point for Kansas State University in 2002.
Newman scooped up the ball near the 15-yard-line and returned it all the way for a touchdown, which helped the Wildcats defeat USC 27-20.