Kirk Cousins Personality Catches on
Make a quick Google search about Kirk Cousins and include the word “nerdy.” Then read things like “Kirk Cousins is absolutely, positively every bit the nerd-dork-dweeb that he seems.”
That quote is from Steelernationforums.com last November, but online stories from Sports Illustrated and USA Today have also put the nerd and dork tag on the Vikings’ new quarterback who signed a guaranteed three-year $84 million deal during the offseason to leave the Redskins and come to Minnesota. Realclearlife.com wrote Cousins is nerdy because he and his wife stayed with in-laws to save money in the offseason. He is supposed to be frugal, obsessive and a theater geek.
Cousins’ new teammates, after practicing with him for the first time this spring as part of OTAs, told Sports Headliners their quarterback is personality-plus. “In the locker room he might be a little dorky but out here he is a fiery competitor,” said offensive lineman Nick Easton.
Backup quarterback Kyle Sloter lives in Atlanta during the offseason, the same place where Cousins spent time earlier this year. The two got acquainted in Atlanta and even more now as teammates. Sloter said at the appropriate moment on or off the field Cousins might shout out a movie quote from a film like “Happy Gilmore,” or “Dumb and Dumber.”
“I wouldn’t say that he is a nerd or a dork,” Sloter said. “He talks about ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and ‘Star Wars,’ and those kinds of things. He embraces it. That’s just really his personality. He’s a funny guy. He brings a little comic relief into our quarterback room but he knows when it’s time to be serious and all that good stuff.”
Vikings’ wide receiver Adam Thielen, who likes the personality of his quarterback, said Cousins knows every movie quote. “You couldn’t ask for a better person as a leader than a guy that likes to have fun and loves the game of football,” Thielen said.
Sloter already admires Cousins. “He’s a really genuine guy,” Sloter said. “Everybody loves the leadership that he brings. He’s a real sparkplug kind of guy so it’s been fun for me to really get in there and learn. …”
Former Viking Bob Lurtsema was initially opposed to his old team signing Cousins but he is impressed and open-minded now, describing the 29-year-old quarterback as “a class act.” Lurtsema has listened to Cousins talk and studied his background of being a late developer at Michigan State. That maturation of Cousins indicates attitude and work ethic to Lurtsema.
“This sounds terrible (but) he reminds me so much of myself,” Lurtsema said. “I was a terrible athlete but I gave you what I had cause you never know when you’re going to mature as an athlete. You might mature as a freshman in high school, a sophomore in college. You never know. Everybody is different. But if you keep giving it your best—when opportunity comes along you’re ready for it. …He (Cousins) directed himself (that way).”
Cousins didn’t come to Michigan State or join the Redskins as a star; he was a fourth round draft choice. During his six years with the Redskins he struggled a lot to win games against teams with winning records. Teams he quarterbacked lost more games than they won and he was 0-1 in the playoffs. Cousins, though, was statistically impressive and the Vikings must believe he is not only a talented quarterback but one in his prime years, and now surrounded by much better personnel than he had with the Redskins.
Lurtsema was dubious in February about Cousins and back then questioned the free agent quarterback’s leadership. Whether Cousins is nerdy or not, Lurtsema is rethinking him. “I want to be 100 percent wrong on what I said originally,” Lurtsema said. “I want to be 100 percent right on what I just told you now.”
No. 2 quarterback Trevor Siemian, like Cousins, is in his first OTAs with the Vikings and getting ready for an initial season in Minnesota. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Siemian is “not an overly outgoing guy, but he takes charge in the huddle.”
Siemian is in his fourth NFL year and Zimmer said the quarterback is adapting to the Vikings’ offensive system. “He’s a guy that, obviously, has had a lot of experience,” Zimmer said. “ I think he’s catching on (to) the system well. It’s a completely different system for him. He’s been throwing the ball good. He’s got good command of the offense so far.”
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The actual game time was two hours and 53 minutes—one of two Twins games last week to be played in under three hours.
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