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Vikings trying to get Kirk Cousins to “next level”

The Vikings gave Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed three-year deal in the 2018 offseason. But Mike Florio and Chris Simms explore what would've happened in the NFL if Minnesota didn't do the deal.

Kirk Cousins has started only two playoff games, winning neither. Yet, the Vikings signed him to a three-year deal last year that made him, at the time, the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The Vikings have to figure out how to get back to what they did in 2017, now with Cousins as their quarterback.

“A lot of the things we’re doing now [are] . . . to get Kirk Cousins to go to that next level to do the things he does best,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Wednesday at the Vikings charity golf outing at The Meadows at Mystic Lake, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.

The Vikings are expected to run more and do more play action, something Spielman said Cousins does well.

“We know what our identity is,” Spielman said. “We got away from that last year. Our identity with Coach [Mike] Zimmer and how we win games with the Minnesota Vikings is we’re going to be tough; we’re going to be physical; we’re going to play great defense; we’re going to run the ball; we’re going to set up big plays by being able to run the ball and use play action. One of the things Kirk Cousins is best at is play action, and we didn’t do that enough last year.”

Cousins threw for 4,298 yards and 30 touchdowns but committed 17 turnovers. The Vikings went 8-7-1 a year after reaching the NFC Championship Game with Case Keenum, who went 12-4 in 2017, including two postseason games.