EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings found three generations of Cousins in their family on Thursday.
With freshly signed Kirk Cousins at the podium, the quarterback’s parents, Don and MaryAnn, looked on from the front row of the interview room at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. Kirk’s wife, Julie, sat next to his parents and held Cooper, a 6-month-old in Vikings attire.
Kirk fielded questions from a massive gathering of reporters and even made sure to wish Sid Hartman a happy 98th birthday.
Kirk and Cooper both drew attention from Hartman.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer described the multitude of things that they liked about the quarterback’s game and approach.
Cousins said he and his family were “humbled and honored to be here today” and thanked the Wilf family, Spielman and Zimmer for extending the opportunity to play for a team that he feels offers a great chance to win.
Deeply principled in his Christian faith, Cousins also thanked God and referenced Ephesians 3:20 in the Bible.
“I am here to play football. I look forward to doing that here in a month and I look forward to going to work every day with my teammates. For a long time, my family and I have prayed a verse from the Bible, Ephesians 3:20, which says, ‘And now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.’
“That has been our prayer,” he explained. “Today that prayer has certainly been answered, but we will continue to pray it more than ever as we go forward, that God would continue to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”
Here are five topics covered by Cousins during his introductory press conference.
1. First time in free agency
Cousins, a 2012 fourth-round pick of Washington, has played the past two seasons under the franchise tag. The expiration of his 2017 contract on Wednesday meant that he officially made his first entry in free agency, but talks began long ago.
“My agent (Mike McCartney) communicated to me that this free agency process in general around the entire league moved more quickly than it has in previous years for whatever reason, and my situation was no different. It was a good process,” Cousins said. “Mike McCartney, my agent, and I have really been in these types of conversations for about two-and-a-half years. We’ve built a great deal of trust, a great relationship. For me, it was not a stressful experience because of the implicit trust I have in Mike. He handled it very well and he represented me and my family at a high level. I am very appreciative for that.”
2. Patience and trust
There are financial rewards that come with playing under a franchise tag, but the trade-off is the year-to-year nature of the deal.
Cousins trusted that he could earn a multiyear deal by playing under the franchise tag last season, a strategy that Zimmer referenced in his introduction as an admirable level of confidence.
Cousins said patience and trust with McCartney were important during the process.
“On one hand, this process has moved quickly this week. On the other hand, it’s been a two-and-a-half-year process. Patience was certainly needed throughout the process,” Cousins said. “Mike McCartney just provided such strong counsel for so many years. Certainly the two-and-a-half years are the ones that people focus on, but I could go back six years to some of the counsel he has given me that has led to today and will continue to lead in the future.
“[I’m] just so grateful for the way things have played out,” Cousins added. “I wouldn’t change anything that has happened for the world. Now I’m just excited to look forward to all that is in store.”
3. Impressions of new teammates
The Vikings voluntary offseason program will start next month, and Cousins said he is looking forward to working with his new teammates.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs shared similar sentiments via Twitter:
“I did see a couple of tweets. I was able to run into a couple of [Vikings players] during Super Bowl week at different events,” Cousins said. “I’m excited to get to know them and get to work.
“I’m excited about the challenge in practice. To go against the number one defense, statistically last year, every day in practice, to go against Coach Zimmer’s mind and his scheme, I think that will be a very fun challenge,” Cousins added. “I love to compete, just like all the guys on this team. I think that day-to-day competition in practice will be a lot of fun and a great challenge. I’m sure come training camp time, it will be fun for the fans to watch as well.”
4. On new Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo
With Washington playing Philadelphia twice a season, Cousins had a close view of new Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo’s work as Eagles quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.
“Well, first of all, when you coach the potential MVP of the league (Carson Wentz), if not for getting hurt, and then you coach the other quarterback (Nick Foles) to a Super Bowl MVP, … that’s certainly a ringing endorsement.”
“[I] love what they did offensively in Philadelphia. I know he has a West Coast background, both at his days in Cleveland and Oakland, and before that,” Cousins added. “I’m thrilled to get to work with an offensive mind like that. Again, it goes back to leadership. I respect Coach Zimmer, and I respect his opinion and his evaluation. He’s not going to hire somebody who he doesn’t feel very strongly about both schematically and as a person.”
5. Yes, Cousins also saw the Minneapolis Miracle
Cousins made the rounds on Radio Row at Mall of America during the week of Super Bowl LII as people around the globe turned their attention to Minnesota.
He also had his eyes on the game that U.S. Bank Stadium hosted three weeks earlier when the Minneapolis Miracle sent the Vikings to the NFC Championship.
“Yeah, I was watching like everybody else. Just an incredible play,” Cousins said. “Nobody wanted to leave the stadium. Just one of those moments you just want to soak in.
“I’ve been a part of a Hail Mary that won a game in college (a 44-yard pass for a Spartans win over Wisconsin in 2011), and it’s a special moment. [The Minneapolis Miracle is] part of the rich history of the Vikings, and it goes back many, many years. I feel again humbled and honored to join that history.”