While they are now linked together, Cousins and the Vikings took different roads en route to Thursday afternoon.
The quarterback rose upward on an arc of personal success and growth.
The Vikings started the Mike Zimmer era by focusing on the defense and made progress through drafting, development and retention of core players tabbed by GM Rick Spielman before and after Zimmer's arrival.
But each had been looking for a certain measure of continuity.
Cousins wanted longer-term certainty after back-to-back seasons under the franchise tag in the nation's capital. And the Vikings, despite plenty of recent success, wanted to cement the quarterback position with a single player instead of using multiple starters over the past three seasons.
Now that they are together, Cousins and the Vikings share a common goal of bringing the franchise's first Super Bowl title to Minnesota.
"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, fresh off of signing his contract. "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," Cousins added. "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."
Here is a look at Minnesota's new quarterback, how the partnership between Cousins and the Vikings has been intertwined and what lies ahead:
'We Can Build Something Together'
As the Vikings entered the 2018 offseason, they were enamored by Cousins' skill set on the field and wanted to learn more about his endearing personality off of it.
But how did Minnesota come to need a quarterback? And why was Cousins available?
Minnesota had one of its most successful seasons in team history when it went 13-3 in 2017, capturing a division crown while advancing to the NFC title game.
The Vikings have won two NFC North titles in three seasons, all while having three different quarterbacks start at least 14 games since 2015.
Teddy Bridgewater appeared poised for a breakout 2016 season, but he suffered a catastrophic, non-contact leg injury just 12 days before the start of the year, leading the Vikings to trade for Sam Bradford.
Bradford started 15 games in 2016 and entered 2017 as the starter before throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 win. But he suffered a non-contact knee injury in the season opener and only played two more quarters for the rest of the 2017 season.
Case Keenum then stepped in and went 11-3 as the starter in 2017, recording a career year as Minnesota went 13-3 and won a division title before advancing to the NFC Championship.
All the while, Spielman and Zimmer built up the defense into one of the NFL's best over the past four years. The Vikings led the league in points and yards allowed in 2017 while also setting a record for the stingiest third-down defense.
The contracts for Bridgewater, Bradford and Keenum all expired on March 14.
Spielman said the three most important items on Minnesota's offseason to-do list were to hire a new offensive coordinator, figure out the quarterback situation and fortify the interior of the defensive line. The Vikings hired John DeFilippo, signed Cousins and traded to acquire experienced backup Trevor Siemian and also signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
At the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Spielman cautioned that a team is never just a single player away from a title and that he avoids the "all-in" mentality each offseason.
Cousins, a former fourth-round pick in 2012 out of Michigan State, threw for 13,176 yards and 81 touchdowns while compiling a passer rating of 97.6 in the past three seasons as Washington's starter.
He has thrown for at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons.
That's something that Minnesota quarterbacks have accomplished just three times in franchise history. Brett Favre was the most recent Vikings quarterback to do so, something the Hall of Famer accomplished back in 2009. Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Warren Moon (1995) also passed for at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in one season.
Cousins has started all 48 regular-season games over the past three seasons. He is one of six quarterbacks to do so with the same team (Tom Brady was suspended for four games but has made every other start for New England).
The quarterback is 24-23-1 as a starter since 2015 and has been plenty productive. He has 10 games with at least 300 passing yards and no interceptions and 23 games with of a passer rating of 100 or higher (with at least 15 passing attempts) in that span.
He has also been clutch when needed, leading 11 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2015, third-most in the NFL.
And while the quarterback has been more than consistent on the field, he has been searching continuity.
He played under Washington's franchise tag the past two seasons, becoming the first quarterback to play back-to-back years under that designation.