Vikings' Kirk Cousins Regrets Not Watching Himself on Tape Earlier in His Career

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 25: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings attempts a pass over Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

NFL quarterbacks watch a lot of film. But Kirk Cousins apparently focused early in his career on watching film of his opponents rather than self-evaluating.

The Minnesota Vikings veteran told reporters he watched the entirety of his career for the first time this offseason:

Courtney Cronin @CourtneyRCronin

New for Kirk Cousins: Vikings QB said he went back and watched every single game he's played in this offseason (not just 16 from '20). Has a film set up at home where he can access his entire library to create cut-ups. "I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner in my career"

Cousins was a fourth-round draft pick of the Washington Football Team in 2012 and spent his first three seasons backing up Robert Griffin III. But the latter's injury issues and declining play opened the door for Cousins to seize the starting job, and a strong 2015 campaign (4,166 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, league-high 69.8 completion percentage) ensured he didn't give it back.

Washington cut Griffin after the 2015 season, and Cousins held down the starting gig for the next two years before signing with the Vikings in free agency, earning a three-year, $84 million deal that at the time made him the highest-compensated player in NFL history.

He signed a two-year, $66 million extension in 2020, which will keep him under contract through the 2022 season.

Cousins had a strong statistical campaign last year, throwing for 4,265 yards and 35 touchdowns with 13 interceptions while completing 67.6 percent of his passes. But the Vikings went just 7-9, missed the playoffs for the second time in his three years as the starter and inquired about trading up to the No. 8 pick, reportedly to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

It's unlikely the Vikings would have wanted to give up the assets necessary to get a player such as Fields if they planned to keep him on the sideline for long, putting Cousins' future with the team in doubt.

Minnesota drafted Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond in the third round.

Chris Tomasson @christomasson

#Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on working with Kellen Mond: "I do the same thing I've done with Nate Stanley, Jake Browning. ... You're an open book.''

Chris Tomasson @christomasson

#Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on working with Kellen Mond said the big thing is "being able to take in the volume that's thrown at you."

Mond will be Cousins' backup—the Vikings also have quarterbacks Jake Browning and Nate Stanley—and one piece of advice the veteran will likely impart upon his young teammate will be to watch film of himself, early and often.