There is not a shortage of opportunities to hear Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins talk every week, given that he addresses the media every Wednesday and after games — plus on his radio show/podcast.
That said, the setting and personalities involved in an interview can have a big impact on what is said. And as such, Cousins’ appearance Wednesday with former Vikings/Packers great Brett Favre and co-host Bruce Murray on Favre’s show on SiriusXM NFL Radio had some interesting moments that might not come from a regular media session with Cousins. Some highlights:
Did Cousins take a backhanded shot at Washington while revealing some truths about his future in Minnesota? Maybe.
Favre talked about how his feelings about the Vikings evolved when he got a chance to play here. “I spent my last two years with the Vikings, and for years I went to the Metrodome and it was a disaster. It was one of the toughest places to play,” he said. “But getting a chance to play there, I can honestly say … it was a great organization.”
That was a softball to let Cousins talk about how much he likes it here — which he did in interesting fashion.
“Absolutely, and I think that’s where it starts. To have a chance as a quarterback to win those big games it starts with great ownership, great management, people bringing in the right people around you so you can win those big games,” Cousins said. “Our fans are outstanding, our new stadium is outstanding and I just feel very privileged to be the quarterback here because not every organization can claim some of the things that we have going here. We have to turn it into wins as much as possible so I can stay here as long as possible. I joke with everybody that ‘guys we’ve got to win because I like it here and I’d like to stay.'”
It seems clear (and for good reason) that Cousins likes it in Minnesota more than he did in Washington. It also seems he’s keenly aware that his contract expires after next season and that his long-term future is very much tied to short-term performance, given that extension talks would naturally start after this season.
Kudos for Kevin Stefanski
Favre lauded Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski, whom he remembers from his time with the Vikings a decade ago.
“He’s a young guy but he was a really young guy when I was there,” Favre said. “I really like him. He had very little input at the time because he was kind of the low man. … I was so happy to see him get the job. It seems like you guys are really clicking right now. How do you like working with Kevin?”
Said Cousins: “He’s worked with great coaches, so it’s been a really good journey for him and he’s obviously been big in my development going back to being the quarterbacks coach in the room with me last year now to calling plays. As you know, Brett, we’ve run the ball really effectively and that’s just taken a lot of pressure off of me and we’ve been able to get a lot of our passing game off of much fewer attempts — but still have a lot of production and do a lot of of it off play action and screens. They’re not really asking me to take a lot of 7-step drops and throw deep dagger in-cuts over three defenders, so it’s been a really good marriage of run and pass, and Kevin has done a really good job of designing it and calling it on Sundays.”
Continuity is key
Murray, Favre’s co-host, asked about getting comfortable in this year’s offensive system after last year’s midseason firing of John DeFilippo.
“Obviously I feel I can go out and execute at a high level in this system, but I’m also looking forward to another offseason and another season of being able to be in this system because in the last four seasons I’ve had four different voices in my helmet calling plays, a differing person each year,” Cousins said. “To have some stability and continuity I think will really help and I like to think we can have that going forward and really develop an identity … of how we want to look on offense.
Having fun out there like the ol’ Gunslinger
It became a bit of a cliche during Favre’s career that he always looked like he was having fun while he was playing. But Cousins said he looks to Favre as a good reminder of how to relax and have fun.
“I think you’re the all-time example of finding a way to enjoy the grind,” Cousins said. “A great example to a guy like me. At times people tell me just go have fun, and I’m thinking, ‘I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and I have to deliver.’ If anything I take it too seriously and I have to remind myself that seriousness is not a virtue. This is a child’s game. Go out and have fun. It’s always a treat to see your highlights and see your demeanor.”