The Vikings were pretty good in the red zone last year.
But then they changed quarterbacks and lost their play-caller.
That’s why they’re spending so much time on the close-to-the-end zone stuff in OTAs, as quarterback Kirk Cousins adapts to his new environment.
“We’ve spent an awful lot of time, I think this is our fourth day in the red zone,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I think it’s just important we get a lot of work in there. We put a big emphasis on it last year. We’re going to continue to do so.”
While Cousins has found some early rapport with tight end Kyle Rudolph, the rest of the passing game is a work in progress. With new coordinator John DeFilippo putting in new things, there’s a big emphasis on installation this time of year, with a new set of basics like snap counts and play calls.
“That’s why we’re doing it. It’s not easy,” Cousins said. “It is condensed. You have to be on the screws. Your throws have to be that much more accurate. The routes have to be that much more perfect in terms of the depth, the cut and the timing. That’s why we’re practicing it right now. . . .
“Each play helps build a confidence. Helps build a rapport with the receivers, with the tight ends. Try to get on the same page with the centers, protection calls. It is a lot of new, a lot of chemistry that still has to be built.”
Of course, the Vikings paid Cousins a ton of money to build it, so their expectations are going to be high.