Kirk Cousins may be the highest-earning player in the NFL, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten where he came from. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback has spent a ton of time with his family this offseason.
As the coronavirus pandemic has hindered the ability to train for the upcoming season, Cousins has gone back to his roots. Instead of working out in a gym, he’s been spending his days sweating on his parents’ driveway.
Kirk Cousins got a contract extension after Pro Bowl campaign
Though he’s never won a Super Bowl title or even advanced to an NFC Championship, Kirk Cousins has become a wealthy man. The former fourth-round pick replaced Robert Griffin III in Washington and parlayed three solid seasons into the NFL’s first fully-guaranteed contract.
In his first year in Minnesota, he turned in a solid season. Cousins completed 70.1 percent of his passes for nearly 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns. However, the Vikings’ $84 million man led the team to just eight victories.
Last season, Cousins’ raw numbers took a dip. He failed to hit 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career since becoming a full-time starter in 2015. He also threw just 26 touchdowns, which represented the second-lowest total in his time as a starter.
However, the former Michigan State star did go 10-5 while leading the Vikings to the playoffs. Minnesota fell short of its Super Bowl quest but still rewarded Cousins with a two-year, $66 million deal. Once again, despite not being an elite player on the field, Kirk Cousins scored an elite contract.
Vikings QB has spent his offseason training on his parents’ driveway
The NFL’s highest-paid player over the last calendar year has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. But like many athletes, Cousins’ offseason routine got a serious shakeup due to the coronavirus pandemic. With commercial gyms and team facilities closed, athletes have been forced to take on more personal responsibility without access to trainers and equipment.
According to Kimberly Martin of ESPN, Cousins decided to go home to Orlando to live with his parents. His wife, Julie, and two young sons, Cooper and Turner, joined him. With plenty of support from his family, he’s been able to focus on training right from his parents’ driveway.
Four times a week, starting promptly at 9 a.m., the Vikings quarterback gathers equipment from the garage and arranges it neatly on the long, curved pavement leading from his parents’ house to the sidewalk. Resting on a wooden chair is his laptop, connected by videoconference to his longtime personal trainer, Chad Cook, who is 450 miles away in Atlanta. This is a glimpse into what constitutes the 2020 NFL offseason.
Utilizing simple home exercise equipment like a medicine ball, jump-rope, and free weights, Cousins has been committed to staying in shape.
“[Every car will] see me doing my shuffles across the driveway, or my cariocas, or doing the jump-rope or different plank exercises, core work, medicine ball, lunges — whatever it may be. And different people honk or wave, so it’s kind of fun,” Cousins said.
Can Cousins finally achieve postseason success?
No matter what training routine he follows, all that matters for Kirk Cousins is how he’ll perform in crunch time. For years, his biggest knock has been his lack of playoff success. Entering his sixth season as a starter, he has just a single playoff win on his resume.
The Vikings didn’t necessarily make his job any easier by trading Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. However, the team did draft a potential star in Justin Jefferson, who put up huge numbers as one of Joe Burrow’s top targets.
Minnesota does play in a tough division that obviously features Aaron Rodgers. Chicago boasts a top-notch defense, and the Detroit Lions looked solid before Matthew Stafford got hurt.
For Cousins, his offseason approach may be different, but Vikings fans want the results on the field to be different, too. If not, team management, along with Cousins himself, will continue to face criticism over his lucrative paychecks.