How Vikings QB Kirk Cousins ​​uses tennis to stay in football shape

When the Minnesota Vikings completed mandatory minicamp in June and left for a six-week summer break, the players were on their own when it came to staying fit and ready to go when training camp started at the end of July.

Most, if not all, players practiced on their own on a regular, if not daily basis. Some played basketball, others found soccer fields in their hometowns and did cardio of their own. Some groups got together to kick a soccer ball around, just to keep the feeling familiar.

Kirk Cousins ​​hit the tennis court. He spent part of his offseason visiting the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. He met Andy Roddick and John Isner. Cousins ​​told the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday that tennis has become his non-soccer training choice in recent years.

“A lot of guys play basketball and it’s a great way to get some cardio and have fun while getting all the benefits you’re trying to get from working out. I was just nervous at it. idea of ​​rolling my ankle or something happening 5-on-5 and I thought what would be the next closest thing I could be to in my own space? I realized that tennis would be a great thing to do,” Cousins ​​said. “When I came out to kick someone told me that Pete Sampras used to warm up before serving by kicking a soccer ball because the moves are so similar. I didn’t even have there thought, but when I started serving I realized how similar they really are.”

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The cousins ​​even had this conversation with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who spent 15 of his 20 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, in the Pro Bowl there. a few years old.

“He said a serve is the only throwing motion where the object stays in your hand, which actually helps build a lot of muscle in the back of your shoulders. I was already sold on tennis at that point. time, but it put me on edge,” Cousins ​​said. “Now in the summers I play a lot of tennis to make sure I get my cardio, but also to do something fun. “

Cousins, entering his 11th NFL season and fifth with the Vikings, is 33-29-1 in four seasons and has one playoff victory. He threw 99 touchdowns and 55 interceptions, and is now tasked with leading a Vikings offense under another new coordinator, but with new head coach Kevin O’Connell calling plays after winning a Super Bowl with the LA Rams.

In addition to tennis helping his shoulder gain strength, he’s also breaking in and working on agility, having to move laterally to land certain shots.

“Honestly, I think it helped me with my movements in the pocket. I’m never going to be the Lamar Jackson type, but I think playing tennis is just a way to kind of help train this movement and running instinct,” Cousins ​​said.

The Vikings hold their annual training camp night practice Monday at TCO Stadium, and their first preseason game is next Sunday at the Las Vegas Raiders.

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