As the world continues to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic, there is talk of a return to sports, in some capacity, in the near future. But that may include games being played without crowds in attendance, something that Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins says could be refreshing.
“Honestly, we practice every day in an empty grass area and pump in fake crowd noise for away games,” Cousins said during a conference call with the media, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.
“But more often than not, you’re used to it. OTA practices don’t have a lot of pomp and circumstance to them. So honestly, to go out and just play the game would kind of be refreshing, a breath of fresh air, to just let us know that we don’t have to have all the smoke and the fire. We can just play football. So as long as we’re playing the game, I won’t have a lot of complaints, and hopefully if it’s still not returned to normal, we can find a way to make it work.”
With people in quarantine, many athletes are forced to train at home, something Cousins said has been “surprisingly efficient”.
“I had my doubts, but I’m using technology to connect with my trainer, and I have enough equipment around the house that I can get a pretty good workout in,” Cousins said. “Physically, I feel really good. Playing catch is interesting … whether it’s my brother, who comes over, or a neighbor or whoever is nearby … I play catch, and I think my shoulder has been getting a lot of good work. I honestly feel like I’m in the same shape I’d be in if we’d had a normal life for the last month-and-a-half. I’m glad to have found a rhythm that works for me.”
Cousins also addressed the recent trade that sent wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, and spoke of his admiration for Diggs.
“It became apparent that he [Diggs] wanted to play elsewhere, and I think it was smart of the Vikings to grant him that opportunity,” Cousins said. “I think it wasn’t a mystery, and that’s OK. I wish him really well. I just so enjoyed playing with him. He’s a special player, and we now have to find a way to move forward and replace that, if you will, with a variety of players. But I think that that’ll be our challenge going forward, is creating that talented option outside of Adam [Thielen] on the outside, and I think there’ll be a variety of ways to do that, and I’m excited to get started on that challenge.”
“I think my text message to him said something along the lines of, ‘You’re as good as any receiver I’ve ever played with,'” Cousins said. “That includes some names like Adam Thielen, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon … he’s elite. I just wanted to affirm him and thank him. It sounds cliché, but I’m as good as a quarterback as the guys around me — specifically, as the people I have to throw to.
“There were a lot of games where his talent makes an enormous difference. I just wanted to let him know that, and I’m sure the Bills will be thrilled to have that. Again, we’re always looking for win-wins, whether that was with my contract or in Stefon’s situation. It didn’t seem to be able to work going forward as it was, so we tried to find the best win-win that we could, and I think it was impressive of the Vikings to find a situation that could work for both sides.”
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