MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Kirk Cousins couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked at his cell phone shortly after the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Giants 28-10 on Sunday.
He got a text message from his agent. The White House, more specifically President Donald Trump, wanted a word with him.
“I said ‘Are you serious?’ thinking it was a joke, I was going to call some prank number,” Cousins said. “He said ‘No, very.’”
Cousins had just gotten finished having his best game of a young 2019 season with 306 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Adam Thielen. It was his first 300-yard passing game of the season, and just his sixth in 20 starts with the Vikings.
Cousins was given a phone number to call, which he did when he got on the team bus as the Vikings headed to the airport to travel back to Minneapolis.
“I didn’t know what it was, I was just calling the White House, and they just said hold for the President,” Cousins said.
Trump was waiting on the other side of the phone. Cousins said the conversation wasn’t long, not more than about 30 seconds, but Trump wanted to offer his congratulations after Minnesota’s third win of the season.
Cousins didn’t really know what to make of the phone call, which he described Wednesday as “very out of the blue, very random.” He never second-guessed making the call after getting the information from his agent.
“When the President calls, I don’t care who it is. Left, right, whatever, down the middle. If he says call me, I’m going to give him a call and see what he needs,” Cousins said.
It had been a long week for the Vikings after Cousins and Adam Thielen were together on his weekly radio show. Cousins apologized to Thielen for not converting more down field passes in the Vikings’ Week 4 loss at Chicago. The apology came after Thielen made comments after the loss to the Bears that they need to throw the ball down field more and that they won’t be able to run the ball with success in every game this season.
Then last Wednesday, Stefon Diggs was a no-show for practice. He said last Thursday he was absent because of a cold, which would have been noted on the team’s injury report. He was back at the team facility last Thursday and expressed his frustration with the Vikings’ offense, also saying, “There’s some truth to all rumors” when asked about reports that he wanted to be traded.
Fast forward to Sunday’s game against the Giants, and one of Cousins’ first completions went to Diggs, who finished the day with three catches. They got their third win of the season, and that’s what matters.
Cousins played with an edge Sunday, going 22-for-27 on the day and didn’t have any turnovers. He wouldn’t say Wednesday if playing with an edge helped, or if there was extra motivation after a long week. He said on his radio show this week he tends to play better if he’s angry.
“I don’t need to get into it. Play this position, things happen inside the building, outside the building that motivate you and you find motivation,” Cousins said.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday he’s happy to provide more motivation for Cousins if it means playing like he did Sunday and winning more games.
“I don’t know, if I knew that I would tick him off myself. I don’t know and I don’t listen to his radio show,” Zimmer said.
This was not Cousins’ first interaction with the president. The two played a round of golf together at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey in June 2017, when Cousins was the quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Fox News reported.
Zimmer was asked Wednesday if there was concern about Cousins having a conversation with Trump within the team facility.
“I don’t know, I’m not in charge of all those political things so I’m staying out of that. I think they’ve played golf together or something, I don’t know. I don’t really get into it, I’m a football coach, that’s what I do,” Zimmer said.
Cousins and the Vikings are now tasked with finding a way to beat the Eagles on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.