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Under Center with Kirk Cousins Returns: Previewing the 2020 Regular Season + Joe Mauer Chats with Kirk


Under Center with Kirk Cousins is back for the 2020 regular season.

The Vikings quarterback will continue to bring Vikings fans behind-the-scenes content as he gets set for his third season in Minnesota.

Mark Rosen of the Vikings Entertainment Network will co-host the show with Cousins, who will be joined by a guest each week with ties to the organization, Minnesota or the quarterback.

Minnesota Twins legend Joe Mauer kicked off this week's show. Mauer relived his days growing up in the Twin Cities and his illustrious 15-year career with the Twins. He also updated Cousins and Rosen on what he's been up to during his retirement.

Cousins also gave his thoughts on the most unique season he's ever been a part of as he gets set for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday without fans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

To listen to the first full airing of the radio show, tune in to KFAN 100.3-FM at 6 p.m. (CT) Tuesdays.

New this season, segments of Under Center with Kirk Cousins will also be a television show airing at 8 p.m. (CT) Wednesdays on WFTC.

You can also watch and/or listen to Under Center with Kirk Cousins all season on the Vikings digital platforms by subscribing to the Minnesota Vikings Podcast Network and the Vikings YouTube page.

Below are four highlights from Cousins' preview on the upcoming season.

1. Thoughts on Justin Jefferson

Cousins gave some high marks on his plans for wide receiver Justin Jefferson and the expectations for the first-round pick.

"The line that comes to mind when I have been asked about him is he's a natural receiver," Cousins said. "All the things that we are going to ask of him that are difficult, to make the tough catch, to get open against tight coverage … doing those things come naturally to him.

Cousins and Jefferson made strides to connect on many completions throughout Verizon Vikings Training Camp, and Cousins believes that will continue throughout the season.

"You love to see that because many times you'll try to get a great athlete and force him to fit into a position, and it just doesn't work," Cousins added. "Justin is wired to be a receiver, and it just fits him naturally. I expect him to make a lot of plays that would reflect that."

2. Impressions of Yannick Ngakoue

While Cousins has only seen Ngakoue on the field in a Vikings uniform during a few practices, the quarterback has some experiences competing against him with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Vikings hosted Jacksonville at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in 2018 for a pair of practices and played against them that preseason.

"He's got some juice," Cousins said. "You could see he was kind of coming into his own at that point and had a lot of juice as a pass rusher. When they came to practice against us, we knew about Calais Campbell, and [Ngakoue] was not as much of a household name at that time.

"After practicing and playing against him, we knew his name and we knew what he could do," Cousins said. "We're excited to get that kind of juice on our side and pairing him with Danielle Hunter on the edge — hopefully they can bring an elite pass rush all season long."

3. The young Vikings secondary

The Vikings will depend on many young cornerbacks throughout the 2020 regular season after the departures of Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander in the offseason.

Cousins, who has competed against the Vikings defense in practice for the past few weeks, shared his thoughts on the young defensive backs.

"I'm impressed they have challenged us in practice," Cousins said. "Whether it was Cam Dantzler or Jeff Gladney, I thought they played beyond their years. I didn't see a lot of mental errors. I didn't see a lot of blown coverages, and when they were simply just mano a mano, playing man coverage, I thought it was just tight coverage consistently."

4. What can he improve?

Cousins said that every season he focuses on improving one part of his game to become a more complete player.

He continues to take tips from Vikings legendary quarterback Fran Tarkenton during the offseasons on scrambling out of the pocket more and creating plays with his feet.

What is he working on this year?

"Just trying to become more of an off-schedule player," Cousins said. "When the opportunity presents itself, and there's a chance to run or a chance to scramble or the chance to create a play of your own for a good reason, go make that play happen."