Irv Smith Jr.: Kirk Cousins has a lot more swagger this year

The Vikings are looking to rebound this season after finishing 7-9 in 2020.

Tight end Irv Smith Jr. is set to become a major contributor this season after the club released Kyle Rudolph. And during a Thursday appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Smith said he’s expecting plenty this year from quarterback Kirk Cousins.

“I mean Kirk, he’s done a great job, obviously, with the Vikings. Last year, we were a top-five offense,” Smith said. “Defensively, obviously, we didn’t play too well so our record didn’t show for it. But this year, I’m very excited. We’ve got a lot of weapons on offense. Kirk, he told us he’s just a point guard out there. He’s just going to deliver the ball and put it in the playmakers’ hands and we’re going to make some plays.

“He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got a lot more swagger this year, for sure, and I’m very excited. It’s going to be fun.”

Minnesota finished No. 4 in total offense last season, but was No. 11 in points scored. The club’s defense was 27th in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed.

As for Cousins, he threw for a career-high 35 touchdowns, completing 68 percent of his passes for 4,265 yards. But he also tossed 13 interceptions and lost five of his nine fumbles.

But with explosive receivers like Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, one of the league’s top running backs in Dalvin Cook, and an emerging tight end in Smith, the Vikings’ offense should be solid in 2021.