EAGAN, Minn. -- If Kirk Cousins needs advice on scrambling, Fran Tarkenton is just a phone call away.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback spoke Friday, Aug. 16, about his 10-yard run for a first down that kept a first-quarter drive alive in last week's preseason opener at New Orleans. He pointed to a talk he had with Tarkenton, the hall of fame Minnesota quarterback regarded as one of the niftiest scramblers ever.

“I’ve always felt like that’s a missing element in my game, the ability to not only run for yards but run around and then make throws," said Cousins, whose Vikings play host to Seattle at 7 p.m. Sunday in their home preseason opener. “I was talking with Fran Tarkenton this winter and Fran said, 'Kirk, I only ran a 4.9 (second) 40-(yard dash). I wasn’t fast but I ran around to then be able to throw.’ "

Cousins spends time during the offseason in Atlanta, where his in-laws live and where Tarkenton has lived since retiring from the Vikings 40 years ago. The two have met in person once and spoken on the phone several times.

“He’s just a wealth of knowledge and it’s pretty unbelievable his resume beyond football," Cousins said of Tarkenton, who played for the Vikings from 1961-66 and from 1972-78. “What he’s been able to do with his life. He’s written books. He’s had success on television and probably had more success in business than anything he’s done. So just the life of influence and impact, that’s certainly (something) I would want to emulate, and so it’s fun to get around him."

Tarkenton was the quarterback for three of the Vikings' four Super Bowls (all losses). Cousins has picked his brain on those games.

"I asked him about each Super Bowl and his experience through those," Cousins said. “For 79 years old, he’s so sharp, a lot of energy and a lot of personality."

Cousins said Tarkenton knows when to offer advice.

“He’s self aware enough to know that, ‘Hey, the game’s evolved’ and it’s not like he’s been coaching football at the NFL level for the last 30 years," Cousins said. “But he does have an insight to it. He knows because he played, and there is a bond there with people who have played. He did give me some good insight as to what he sees and, if anything, he was just an encourager."

Cousins challenged his inner Tarkenton on his 10-yard run in the 34-25 victory over the Saints. It came on the opening drive, with the Vikings facing third-and-9 at their own 25.

Cousins looked to throw before taking off down the left side. The play kept alive a drive that culminated in Cousins' 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Alexander Mattison, and the first-team offense was then done for the night.

Cousins said he has the confidence to scramble when necessary. He hopes to do more of that but said it’s something that is hard to practice and is mostly instinctual.

“When the ball is snapped, you can’t say, ‘OK, on this play I’m going to give up on my read and just run around,’ " he said. “It has to be when the play breaks down. And that’s the hard part, training your body and mind to do that. So it was good in the game to have that moment where it did break down, the protection was loose and my instinct was to take off and run."

Vikings offensive adviser Gary Kubiak said Cousins “has the ability to leave the pocket" when teams play man-to-man defense. After all, Cousins did run the 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds coming out of Michigan State in 2012, making him faster than Tarkenton was back in the day.