There are a number of people not thrilled with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins at the moment.
That list includes coach Mike Zimmer, who huffed about his quarterback’s podcast apology to a teammate. But the more conventional line of displeasure includes fans of the team, who are expecting more of the guy with the $84 million guaranteed contract.
Via Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cousins said he didn’t realize what the perception of his play was outside the team facility.
“I’m pretty naive to it,” Cousins said. “You know ignorance is bliss. The only time I’m aware of it is when I have friends or family text me. And the texts they send me you would think somebody died. ‘Hey man, I’m thinking of you.’ Boy, it must not be good out there if that’s what they’re texting me.
“So I honestly don’t see it so I think that helps.”
Sticking his head in the sand may work with fans and cranks on the internet, but having his coach and teammates barking at him is going to be harder to miss.
But after a recent stretch of play in which things are only going well for the Vikings when Cousins doesn’t have much to do with it (he averages 15.5 pass attempts in their two wins, 34.0 per game in losses), the very expensive quarterback maintains he’s still confident.
“My confidence is strong,” Cousins said. “I think I’m trying to be self-aware . . . and be honest and say, ‘Hey, when I mess up, I’m going to own it and point to it.’
“On the flip side, I’m not going to go up there and say, ‘I’m awesome!’ So when we have a good play, I’m not going to tell you about it. Sometimes, it can be one-sided. I’ve played a lot of football in this league, and I think you take confidence from the fact that I’ve been through this before. It’s not my first rodeo being in a tough game, a tough loss. You just move forward with confidence.”
Having been to events where men pester animals for eight seconds at a time might prepare Cousins for the criticism, but the expectations that he buck this trend are growing within his locker room, and that’s going to be harder to ignore.