Vikings: Kirk Cousins talks Jordan Addison, facing Brian Flores defense

The Minnesota Vikings had a light walk-through without pads and helmets on Wednesday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

Before the afternoon session, Kirk Cousins took the podium and spoke with reporters about Jordan Addison. The No. 23 overall pick this year is already turning some heads at training camp. In the first padded practice on Monday, Addison beat his defender, caught a fade route and got both feet in for a touchdown in a team situation. 

Cousins was asked about what he looks for in a young receiver. He emphasized greatness at the catch point, and making contested catches. So far, Addison has done both.

"I think he’s got a lot of ability. In this league, you’re going to make so many contested catches. Coverage is going to be tight, and I’m going to have to throw into tight windows, and you’ve got to show me that when somebody is draped over you or someone is about to come hit you, that you’ll have strong hands. It’s not for the faint of heart, and you’ve got to have strong hands," Cousins said. "I think you can have all the athleticism in the world, but with how good these guys are covering you, if you’re not really strong at the catch point, it’s going to be hard to be consistently successful. That’s what I see from Jordan is he’s pretty natural at the catch point, which is exciting."


The talk leading up to and at the start of training camp has been about the Vikings’ new defense under Brian Flores. One of the great defensive minds in the game, Cousins said Wednesday, "the defense has really been the curveball of camp for me."

On Saturday, the defense came up with four interceptions in team situations. On Tuesday, Harrison Smith had what would’ve been multiple sacks. He’s at the line of scrimmage showing blitz, then either disguises it or rushes. Brian Asamoah and Josh Metellus are in multiple spots, and the young defensive backs are gaining confidence with every snap. Lewis Cine had his first interception of camp on Saturday, jumping a route and then being mobbed by teammates.

Cousins joked that he’s inundating his quarterbacks coach with questions on protection, and will have a PH.D. on Flores by the end of training camp.

"Going against Coach Flores’s defense a first-time deal. I’ve been wearing out my quarterback coach in meetings asking questions, probably to a fault where I’m trying to win in practice," Cousins said. "They’ve got to remind me, ‘Hey, we don’t play Flores’s defense this season.’ It’s OK to have the occasional mix up, we’re trying to get ready for Week 1, not for August. I want to win practice but I want to win during the season, sometimes it’s hard to have both."


Cousins turned a few heads in practice on Tuesday, sporting a No. 66 jersey. He likes to have fun and keep the mood light when he can at training camp, and that move was in honor of Ryan Wright. That was the punter’s jersey number in training camp last year before winning the job and switching to No. 14.

When you’re in the grind of camp, it’s important to remember to have fun.

"I did not look myself in the mirror until post-practice. I saw myself on film and thought that was more egregious than I even realized. I knew it felt big, I knew it was 66 but it was big and it was an ugly number," Cousins said. "That’s probably the first and last time."