Kirk Cousins knows better than anyone that offense doesn't always win games.
While speaking Wednesday at Minnesota's mandatory minicamp, the Vikings quarterback admitted his place in the NFL landscape isn't the strongest and reiterated the need to change that in 2019 if the team hopes to improve its position in the brutal NFC North.
"I think the next level, really, is all about winning," Cousins told reporters. "I'm pretty much a .500 quarterback in my career so far and I don't think that's where you want to be and that's not why you are brought in or people are excited about you.
"If I don't play well, if I don't have gaudy statistics but we win multiple playoff games this year, the narrative will be I went to the next level and I may not walk off the field every day feeling like I did but if we win, that's the life of a quarterback, you are at the next level. If I have my best year yet in 2018 but we're 8-8, I didn't go to the next level. That's the reality of it."
Cousins had a career season in 2018 as he posted his highest completion percentage (70.1) and his second highest total in passing yards (4,298) while throwing more touchdowns (30) than he has ever had since being drafted by the Redskins in 2012. Still, it wasn't enough to help the Vikings as Minnesota finished 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs after making it to the NFC title game the year before.
This time around, however, Cousins is hopeful for a different outcome.
"I'm going to do all I can, control what I can control," Cousins said. "And I think one thing I can do beyond just playing the best I can is to start really coaching and leading other people so that I can never walk off the field saying, 'Hey, I did my part but so-and-so didn't,' that can't happen.
"As a quarterback, you have to be bringing others along so that isn't a point you're making at the end of a practice or a game. That's really what it's all about."
Cousins, who signed a three-year deal worth $84 million with Minnesota last March after finishing his tenure in Washington, has gone 32-30-2 with the Redskins and Vikings since becoming a full-time starter in 2015.
He is 34-37-2 overall as a starter since entering the league.