Familiarity with Cousins Could Help Doctson Catch Up to Speed

EAGAN, Minn. — Josh Doctson is getting a fresh start for his NFL career, and it’s in a place where he knows an important familiar face.

The Vikings announced the addition of Doctson on Tuesday, reuniting the wide receiver with quarterback Kirk Cousins. The two were teammates in Washington in 2016 and 2017.

Doctson, the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, said he’s hoping previous chemistry with Cousins carries over to his new home.

“Minnesota called, and it was a no-brainer [decision because of] knowing Kirk,” Doctson said.

“It’s a good feeling to see somebody familiar out there under center. It’s going to be good, and we’ll just continue to work,” Doctson later added. “You can’t really buy chemistry, so being able to know we had a couple years there where we were building some chemistry, hopefully that’s still there. I assume [it is].”

After an injury in his rookie season kept Doctson from playing all but two games, he recorded 35 catches for 502 yards and a career-high six touchdowns from Cousins in 2017.

Cousins on Wednesday said he was glad to be reunited with the former first-round pick.

“It’s hard to bring someone in who I have no reps with and expect them, with two or three days of practice, to jump in, but you have a longer relationship, I think that makes a big difference, and I think he does have some special skill sets that we can use to our advantage,” said Cousins, who texted Doctson to welcome him to Minnesota. “You want depth at every position. It’s not a luxury you have much of the time, but anytime you can have a guy, who for me in 2017, was really our top receiver, to have a guy like that who can provide depth to your roster, if heaven forbid, something does happen to one of our receivers, I think that’s a big asset.

“I’m excited to get him going, but there is certainly a transition period of getting him caught up to speed, which is part of that transition process,” Cousins added.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings are excited to bring in a player with Doctson’s skills. There was a familiarity between the two sides, as Minnesota worked out Doctson prior to the 2016 NFL Draft.

Doctson turned heads at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, as he tied for the best vertical jump among his position group with a leap of 41 inches.

He also was a top performer in the broad jump, coming in second among receivers with a distance of 10 feet, 11 inches. Doctson also ranked third in the 20-yard shuttle (4.08 seconds).

“Well, we hope that he brings some size and speed,” Zimmer said. “He’s a great jumper, athletic, so we hope that he comes in here and – he’s got to learn the system, obviously – and do the things that he’s capable of.”

Doctson joins Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Chad Beebe and rookie Bisi Johnson as the five wide receivers on the Vikings roster.

His new teammates are happy to have the former TCU standout in Purple.

“I know he’s a vertical guy; he can go up and get the ball,” Diggs said. “I know coming out of my year, we were high on him.

“I watched a lot of tape on him, and he was a high draft pick for a receiver, too,” Diggs added. “He does a lot of things well. I look forward to him playing here.”

Doctson has recorded 81 receptions for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career.

And while things might not have worked out at his first stop in the NFL, Doctson is confident he can be an impact player for the Vikings.

“Just continue to work and continue to trust the process. Hopefully I have a long career, a healthy career,” Doctson said. “Just keep trying to build. It seems like this organization has a lot of good things going already, so I can just slide right in.

“Being in this building and this locker room feels good,” Doctson added.

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