After signing Kirk Cousins to a fully guaranteed contract last year, the M

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EAGAN Irv Smith Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , Minn. —innesota Vikings might have given their quarterback even more to work with this time.This season will surely be a crossroad of sorts for both Cousins and the Vikings, their trajectory toward — or away from — that elusive Super Bowl victory inescapably intertwined.More Vikings coveragePreview: Cook, Vikings look to keep rolling vs. PackersTop Tweets: Vikings prepare for Packers with TMNT hype videoBarr, seasoned Vikings defense off to strong startNew offense, same Rodgers: Vikings prep for LaFleur’s PackersVikings re-sign center Jones, waive rookie TE Dillon“I’m pretty much a .500 quarterback in my career so far, and I don’t think that’s where you want to be,” Cousins said this summer, his most pronounced acknowledgement that his debut in purple did not quite pan out as he or the team hoped with an 8-7-1 record that missed the cut for the playoffs.On the statistical surface, and by the eye test for stretches of the schedule, Cousins largely excelled. His 70.1 percent completion rate was the 10th-best in NFL history. He topped 4,000 passing yards for the fourth straight year, producing the fourth-highest total in the league during that span. His interception rate of 1.7 percent was the best of his career.Still, against the last four postseason-bound opponents the Vikings faced, losses to Chicago twice, New England and Seattle, Cousins posted four of his six worst passer ratings of 2018.When the Vikings lost the finale to the Bears, thus keeping them out of the playoffs, Cousins averaged 4 yards per attempt Minnesota Vikings Jerseys 2019 , his lowest of the year.The offense had several weaknesses beyond his control, but his performance in the first edition of the $84 million deal wasn’t strong enough to cover them up, either.So the Vikings set out to make Cousins more successful this season, hiring former NFL head coach Gary Kubiak as an adviser after appointing Kevin Stefanski as offensive coordinator.New offensive line coach Rick Dennison, a longtime companion of Kubiak, was also handed the title of running game coordinator to help boost a critical area that failed to take the pressure, literally and figuratively, off Cousins last year. Center Garrett Bradbury and tight end Irv Smith Jr. were their first two draft picks. Even wide receiver Josh Doctson, a familiar target for Cousins from their time together with Washington, was added this week.“If we have a really good year, but I don’t play very well, does that mean I crossed the road and we’re good? If I have my best year I’ve ever had and we don’t win, does that mean that I’m not good? I don’t know. I just think that winning does kind of tell the story, and if we win the rest tends to take care of itself,” Cousins said Wednesday. “I need to play well regardless, win or lose, and I’ve got to earn my way every day. I’m being evaluated like everyone else, and if I don’t play well, win or lose, I’m not going to be here.”The offense will put Cousins under center more often than the shotgun formation he frequently operated out of last season. Play-action passes will be a favorite Irv Smith black jersey , using a skill Cousins has long held. The arrival of Kubiak raised a too-many-cooks concern, but Cousins has expressed appreciation for the variety of perspectives the coaching staff can provide him. Cousins has also taken a more collaborative approach with the offense toward the implementation and digestion of the what, why and how of the new playbook.“He’s more about trying to help guys out and do his job, get the guys around him in the huddle on the right page, and go from there,” coach Mike Zimmer said.There’s another change for Cousins this year, a beard he began growing at the beginning of training camp after a casual suggestion by Bradbury. Cousins said he’s curious to see if his facial hair can match the thickness sported by new right guard Josh Kline.“I kind of grew it on a whim,” he said, smiling, “so I’ll probably cut it on a whim.”Beneath the offseason enhancements, the Vikings still have at their core a wide receiver tandem in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs that is one of the NFL’s best. They’re eager, too, to see what more Cousins can do in the revamped system. Diggs, though, made clear Wednesday that Cousins doesn’t need to further prove himself.“He brings what you need from the quarterback position. So as far as like the leadership and me having him as a teammate, I love him,” Diggs said. “I think he does everything that he can, so I’m not saying it’s a make-or-break season because the quarterback position is hard.” Thorsday Open Thread"Good Morning!It’s my Saturday for the next seven days which is a good thing because I’m exhausted, work has been a kick in the gonads everyday since last week.Game of Thrones starts this weekend, (finally) so the music selections now through the weekend will have something to do with that show.Speaking of which Irv Smith Jersey Mens , look for either a front page Game of Thrones article or Fanpost late Sunday evening or Monday morning for your spoiler tag free commenting; we’ll let you know where to find that article before the show starts.Let’s carry on with our news and links open thread full of beer recommendations, nap strategies, crock pot and smoker recipes. Fire up the mock drafts and drop by for some fan wisdom, snark and have another cup of coffee.Around the DN since our last open thread:Lucas has the Vikings signing two more former AAF players.Report: Vikings tried to trade Everson Griffen for Kevin Zeitler by Wludford.Dan Kadar has the 2019 SB Nation writers mock draft.Vikings news from other sources:At Vikings.com, they’ll keep you up to the minute with their Vikings free agency tracker.Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Network’s LaDainian Tomlinson talked with Vikings.com’s Mike Wobschall about the state of the offense with the Vikings going into 2019.Prospect Profile: LSU LB Devin White.Matthew Coller at SkorNorth.com has the Vikings draft needs ranked by position.League news: At NFL.com the Giants are finalizing $41M extension with Sterling Shepard.Bucky Brooks’ top 5 2019 NFL Draft prospects by position 3.0Redskins not pursuing trade for Cardinals’ Josh Rosen.ESPN lists the cap space for all 32 teams.ESPN has an NFL-wide free agency tracker.We come to today’s media selection: Official Opening Credits: Game of Thrones-Season One (HBO)Again, we all know the rules, but in case someone is new:-No discussion of politics or religion-No feeding of the trolls-This isn’t a male version of The View, so leave the gender hatred at the door-Keep the bad language to a minimum (using the spoiler tags, if you must)-Speaking of which, if discussing a newer show or movie, please use spoiler tags-No pictures that could get someone fired or in serious trouble with their employer-If you can’t disagree in a civil manner, feel free to go away-While navigating the open thread, just assume it’s sarcasm.With that, the beer light is on and the bar is open. Belly up & tie one on. Don’t annoy your waiter, try the breakfast burrito and as always, Welcome Aboard!

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