Minnesota’s receiving corps didn’t ask for a new quarterback, but they have to work hard to validate the Vikings’ investment in Kirk Cousins.
Kirk Cousins is making all of the headlines in Minnesota this summer, but he’s going to need help to succeed. The Vikings wide receiver corps has to play well to make him look good. Fortunately for the team’s front office, it looks like the team’s big-name wide receivers are prepared to back up their big get on Cousins.
Both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs spent some time down in Atlanta with their new quarterback before Vikings’ OTAs began. Thielen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the trip was really designed to help the pair to get to know Cousins on a personal level.
The really good news for Vikings fans is that both receivers came away impressed with Cousins. Specifically, they liked just how easy the former Redskins quarterback is to be around. They won’t really be able to develop on-field chemistry until training camp begins, but the social bonding has already begun. That’s an essential part of building a locker room capable of producing a Super Bowl run.
That’s exactly what Minnesota wants to do this season. Replacing Case Keenum with Kirk Cousins was an easy choice based on talent alone. Adding finances to the equation makes it a much closer call. Laying out so much cash to Cousins is going to make it difficult for Minnesota to retain their stars down the line. That’s why it is so imperative that Minnesota’s roster gel immediately to become serious contenders in 2018.
If everything comes together perfectly, the Vikings may add an explosive offense to their devastating defense. Thielen blossomed into one of the most complete receivers in the NFL last year. He put up monster numbers with Keenum. 91 catches for more than 1,200 yards will certainly get the attention of opposing defensive coordinators.
Curiously, it may be Diggs that benefits more from Cousins’ arrival though. He’s got more natural speed than Thielen. If Cousins can develop early chemistry with Diggs it should help his receiver catch passes in stride. If that happens, Diggs could put up video game numbers for the Vikings.
There’s no question that Kirk Cousins is going to be under an intense microscope this season. Everything he says and does will be overanalyzed. If he has any chance to succeed, his receivers will have to play well starting in Week One. That’s the only chance the Vikings front office has to see their massive investment in Cousins validated.