Kirk Cousins was officially introduced as the new Vikings quarterback Thursday, finishing off a process that was both incredibly short and impressively long.
While free agency only officially started one day earlier, Cousins scouted the Twin Cities for almost a week when he was here for the Super Bowl last month and has been doing research on potential teams for more than two years with possible free agency in mind.
He said the Vikings “checked all the boxes,” but in addition to the millions they will give him — other teams probably would have given him even more — Cousins singled out one factor that stood out above the rest.
“I would be here a long time if I were to read off the grocery list of why this is a great fit,” Cousins said, adding a moment later. “I came here because of the chance to win.”
Toward the end of his introductory news conference at the Vikings’ shiny new headquarters in Eagan, Cousins also said this: “This TCO Performance Center is over the top. It’s just a tremendous place to go every day. … The stadium. The practice facility. It’s a great place to live.”
Winning and facilities. Those are two game-changers in sports these days — the first more than the second — and they are part of the reason the narrative has changed for multiple local teams in the last year.
The Twins suddenly became a free agent destination this offseason after winning 85 games a season ago while offering a jewel of a ballpark and a recently renovated spring training facility.
The Timberwolves nabbed Jimmy Butler in a trade last June, and a group of veteran free agents flocked to him as well as youngsters Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a chance to win. It helps that the Wolves have one of the nicest practice facilities in the NBA — after having one of the worst for a long time — and just renovated Target Center.
And now the Vikings — with their billion dollar stadium that just hosted the Super Bowl and their brand new headquarters — signed the best available player in free agency.
If you want to win and you want a nice place to play, Minnesota is suddenly where it’s at.