Check out our stuff on Bleacher Report!

For the next few years, Kirk Cousins will be the signal caller for Minnesota barring an injury or blockbuster trade. With John DeFilippo calling the shots in place of Shurmur, what will that become? DeFilippo is capable of catering his scheme to his quarterback. With Kirk Cousins as his quarterback, what does that look like?

The biggest strength DeFilippo will want to maximize is Cousins’ deep and intermediate accuracy. Nick Olson at Vikings Territory went deeper into that as a strength. DeFilippo used tight end Gary Barnidge to create awkward linebacker stretches to great effect in Cleveland, and hopefully can pick up similar chunk yardage with Kyle Rudolph.

This beautiful rainbow down the field is something that Cousins isn’t bad at, and DeFilippo can use if they can get time for the play to develop. The issue is that Cousins isn’t great at buying time himself. His ability to feel pressure coming is severely lacking. Daniel House breaks down the more common ramifications to this, but it leads to a fumble here:

This is a deeply rooted instinctual problem. It’s unlikely that at 29, Cousins will be able to suddenly become Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers when a play breaks down. So it’s something they’ll have to scheme around.

Play action is a great way to mitigate pressure, and has a demonstrable effect on passing as a whole. The Vikings used it a lot with Case Keenum to help give him clean launch points on deep passes. Contrary to popular belief, play action doesn’t hinge on how often or how well you run, but rather how well you can fake it. Kirk Cousins is really good at faking it.

Here’s an Inside the Pylon piece that goes further in depth on this. It’s so good, it’s teaching tape. Expect to see a lot of play action from a John DeFilippo, especially in the first half of games. If the Vikings fall behind, it’ll be harder to come back because play action won’t work as well in obvious passing situations.

Matt Coller details this better in the red zone section of his latest piece on Cousins, but Cousins’ red zone performance is a bit of a weak spot.

John DeFilippo has a tendency he likes to instill in his quarterbacks that can mitigate this problem. Since it’s one of decision making and not raw talent/accuracy, this is easier to implement:

This is not nearly as difficult a concept to teach as something like the “internal clock,” and hopefully can have a big impact in the red zone. If there is suddenly a Kirk Cousins Red Zone Renaissance, look for this tendency at its root.

John DeFilippo has mentioned his desire to tailor an offense around his personnel. Now that we know what his personnel is, we can reasonably project what kind of scheme we’re in for.

For more on Cousins, check out the full Twitter thread below or click any of the articles linked throughout the this piece.

Thanks for reading!