The reason for the smile stems from the Vikings' representing the perfect fit for Cousins, who signed a three-year, $84 million contract -- all of it guaranteed. The average annual salary of $28 million per season will make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
Money aside, Cousins feels a connection with the Vikings as both aim for loftier heights. He joins a Minnesota team that went 13-3 in 2017, won the NFC North and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
"I would be here a long time if I were to read off the grocery list of reasons why this is the right fit," Cousins said Thursday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. "But for the sake of time, winning is what I said it would be all about, and it's true. I came here for the chance to win. Probably the best chance. That is all that matters in this business.
"More importantly than that, the chance to win comes from the fact that I believe in the leadership of this organization. There has to be a commitment to win from ownership. The ownership, the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback have to all be on the same page. I feel very good about that dynamic here. Everything rises and falls on leaderships. I believe the leadership here is in place to be able to win a lot of football games."
Cousins, who played the past two seasons for the Redskins on a franchise tag, topped the 4,000-yard mark for the third straight year in 2017. He finished with 4,093 yards, with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
The 29-year-old has been on the clock after the Redskins agreed to a four-year extension with quarterback Alex Smith on Jan. 30. That deal became official on Wednesday, the first day of the new league year.
Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman took that opportunity to strike, adding the top free-agent prize to his already potent offense.
"Our goal and objective every year is to (win a Super Bowl), that's what we do," Spielman said. "I think if you talk to 31 other teams, their goal and objective is to win a Super Bowl, or why are you in this business? But with the resources provided by the Wilf family, I know that it's going to give us an opportunity at least to go out there and be competitive week-in and week-out."
The Vikings feature All-Pro Adam Thielen (91 receptions, 1,276 receiving yards), fellow wideout Stefon Diggs (849 receiving yards, eight touchdowns) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (eight touchdowns) to go along with a stellar defense that ranked first in the NFL in 2017 in yards and points allowed per game.
"When you take a look at the offense, I could go on and I'd probably leave someone out if I named them all," Cousins said. "Again, it's a testament to the leadership of this organization with the way they've drafted, the way they've handled free agency, the way they've structured things. Those rosters don't happen by accident."
A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Cousins led the NFL in 2017 with four game-winning drives, giving him 12 for his career.
In 62 games with Washington, including 57 starts, Cousins threw for 16,206 yards and 99 touchdowns with a 65.5 completion percentage and a 93.7 passer rating.