"It kind of brought back this nine-year-old version of myself that I've forgotten about," the Minnesota Vikings quarterback tells PEOPLE
Kirk Cousins is making the most of his time away from the field.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback suffered a season-ending tear to his Achilles tendon in October 2023. Following the injury, he immediately underwent a successful surgery and has since been on the road to recovery.
For the NFL athlete, who is used to jam-packed schedules and vigorous training, recovery meant he had to take a step back from his typical day-to-day to allow himself to heal so that he can return to the field in the spring.
When speaking to PEOPLE about his latest partnership with Tostitos, Cousins, 35, shared an update on his recovery — and also revealed the surprising hobby he's picked up since he put the football down.
"We're about two and a half months out from surgery, so it's been a positive experience," Cousins tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I enjoy going to rehab. The workouts have been up and up and I keep getting better each week."
While Cousins works to rebuild the strength in his leg, he's recruited the help of his two sons — Turner, 4, and Cooper, 5 ½ — to build something a little more fun when he's not in rehab or the gym: Legos.
"I had always wanted to get back into building Legos with my boys and when you're playing football, it was hard to find the time," he says. "And then when I got injured, I thought if there ever was a time to do some Legos with the boys, it's now."
The quarterback then reveals, "I went to the Lego store at Mall of America and I bought two shopping carts full of Legos. We've been building Legos ever since." He adds, "It kind of brought back this nine-year-old version of myself that I've forgotten about and it's been a lot of fun to build all the different things with my boys."
This renewed, yet newfound interest in Legos has been going strong since the holidays and the hobby doesn't show any sign of slowing down anytime soon. "We've done a ton," says Cousins as he recalls a few of his favorite creations.
"We built the Home Alone house around Christmas time, which we said we'll probably keep together as a Christmas decoration for future Christmases. So that's on the basement storage shelf until next Christmas," he says.
"We just finished the space shuttle. We were building that during the playoff games this weekend, which was a lot of fun to build," he continues. "And now, we started a lighthouse because we live on the coast in Michigan here where lighthouses are pretty famous. So we thought if we get that one, it'd kind of be a fun piece to have in the house as a nod to the Michigan coastline."
Cousins adds, "I'm always looking for the next thing to build. We did the Lord of the Rings Rivendell one that's a 6,000-piece set. So [there's] a lot of Legos in the Cousins house right now."
While there's no denying that Cousins has scored some extra dad points with his sons, he's most definitely racked up a few husband points with their mom and his wife, Julie Hampton Cousins, too!
"I know my wife and my boys have enjoyed having me around the house a little more," he says, noting that he now does school pick up and drop off with the kids. "I think that's been a real positive."
If there's one thing he's not doing around the house, it's cooking. "I definitely don't consider myself a chef," he admits. But as the professional athlete that he is, he says, "But I do consider myself to be coachable!"
And that's the perfect attitude to have for Cousins, who's headed to Las Vegas to prepare and serve fans meals at Tost by Tostitos during Super Bowl LVIII weekend. He says the "really fun pop-up restaurant" will be a limited-time culinary experience.
"Because there's going to be the Frito-Lay chefs there, I'm pretty confident that they'll be able to make me look pretty good," Cousins jokes. "Tostitos is doing it bigger than ever and it's just a fun thing to be a part of."
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Read the original article on People.