Speaking Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine, coach Mike Zimmer said he believes the quarterback will be better in Year 2 in Minnesota.
"I think he had a good year," Zimmer said. "I think because he signed a big contract everybody is on his rear-end about this, and we didn't win enough games, and same with me I guess. The big thing is, is every free agent I ever had, in 25 or 26 years or however many years I've been coaching, they've always played better the second year. They have to learn where everything is, they have to find a place to live. I mean, you go through our free agents, Captain Munnerlyn, when he was with us, second year, Linval Joseph, second year. All these guys typically when they come in, they don't know anybody, they don't know where their locker is, any of this stuff. You throw that in with new terminology, whatever. But I think he's going to play great."
Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million guaranteed contract with the Vikings last March. During the 2018 campaign, the quarterback put up comparable career numbers, completing 70.1 percent of his passes for 4,298 yards, 7.1 yards per attempt and 30 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions.
The team regression, along with Cousins' struggles in high-profile games, has put pressure on the quarterback heading into 2019.
Zimmer believes the offensive coaching staff reshuffling, which included bringing in Gary Kubiak as assistant head coach/offensive advisor to aid OC Kevin Stefanski, will help Cousins immensely in his second year in Minnesota.
"It's definitely going to help Kirk," he said. "The system, the terminology, the things he's done really well with the Shanahans ... that definitely is going to help."
Cousins had his best years in Washington under Sean McVay, a Shanahan disciple. Getting back to that type of offense could be a boon for the quarterback.
Zimmer crowed about the experience Kubiak brings to Minnesota, which he believes will help the entire offense get back on track.
"It's almost like romantic for me that I can sit there ... and hear about Bill Walsh and that offense and how it evolved to Mike Shanahan and so on and so forth," he said about his offensive meetings thus far. "For me as a football guy, all those things are outstanding. How this came about, how that came about, how this play worked in this particular situation, and the way they're putting it all together. I couldn't be any happier with the way that situation's been going."