The Minnesota Vikings have shown off their shiny new quarterback, formally turning over the on-field leadership of a team built for Super Bowl contention to Kirk Cousins and his fully guaranteed $84 million contract.
The player directly in front of Cousins, his importance not to be understated, made his debut with the Vikings at the same time. Brett Jones had been in Minnesota for a short time, but started the season as the starting centre. He had as much on his plate as anyone wearing purple.
“Kirk’s an excellent communicator. He wants things done a certain way, and you’ve got to be able to try to the best of your ability to try to emulate what he wants. Anytime there’s a new centre, you want to try to have consistency, so I’m just doing what I’m told and making sure we’re all on the same page so whoever’s in there can adjust and play well so the Vikings can have success,” Jones said.
For all the enhancements the Vikings have made to a roster they reached the NFC championship game with last winter, the offensive line lost more than it gained over the off-season.
“It’s not ideal, but it is what it is,” Cousins said. “We’re not going to dwell on what we can’t control. We’re going to focus on what we have and making the best out of it, and I’m excited to build a rapport with Jones and the rest of the O-line so that hopefully we can develop a continuity as the season goes on.”
Jones, who was acquired in a trade on Aug. 26 with the New York Giants, is the centre of attention.
“He’s going to play centre in the NFL like he’s done for a lot of games already,” Cousins said.
The chemistry between Jones and the guards and tackles on either side of him is probably even more critical.
“Each person relies on the other person,” Jones said. “If one person does one thing bad on offence, it’s a glaring tackle in the hole for a loss. If one guy does something bad on defence, you might have a backer or a safety or somebody come down and cover you. On offence, one mistake can be a big mistake.”