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Hail Rudy: Vikings’ execution is nearly perfect on play they don’t practice

By Judd Zulgad

The Vikings spend a brief portion of their practice each Saturday going through the motions of a Hail Mary play. That means everyone gets into the proper position, quarterback Kirk Cousins drops back and then … nothing.

After all, what are the odds that you can replicate the chaos that takes place as the quarterback heaves the ball down the field toward a mass of humanity, some of whom want to catch the ball and many of whom simply want to bat it down?

So the Vikings were sort of, kind of prepared as Cousins dropped back and let it fly on third down Sunday in Detroit with 2 seconds left on the clock in the first half. The Vikings, having played a mostly terrible first half, trailed 9-7. “We don’t practice it very much,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I mean we go through the mechanics of it, but we really don’t practice it.”

Cousins took the snap from the Lions’ 44-yard line and retreated to his own 42-yard line. He then got a running start and let fly from his own 46. There were three wide receivers in the end zone — Stefon Diggs, Aldrick Robinson and Adam Thielen — with tight end Kyle Rudolph behind Diggs and Robinson and in front of Thielen.

As the ball descended from the roof at Ford Field, it was the 6-foot-6 Rudolph who got in position and went up over cornerback DeShawn Shead to make the catch. The Vikings never trailed again.

VIKES HAIL MARY TOUCHDOWN! WOW!#MINvsDET pic.twitter.com/YICdVcnYXU

— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 23, 2018

“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” said Rudolph, who led the Vikings with a season-high nine catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. “Kirk threw an unbelievable ball. For me to run to the spot, turn and the ball is 10 feet away. I didn’t have to move one step off my spot. … I joked earlier that I had a lot of rebounds in high school basketball and at that point it just turns into another rebound.”

Said Cousins: “The thought process on my end is you’ve got to buy time because it takes a long time for the receivers to get down to the end zone. The play doesn’t work as well if they are running with the ball (in the air). If they can get to the end zone and be waiting for the ball there’s a much higher chance of it being caught. The catch with that is I have to run around and buy time.”

Cousins said the Lions only rushed three so he had time to get himself set to throw. Although it looks like Cousins simply heaves the ball, he pointed out that he needs to make sure it doesn’t land short of the end zone or sail out of it.

“When you’re that far away, (it’s) hard to do,” Cousins said. “I wanted it to land more than 2 yards in and no more than about 8 yards in. So you’ve got about a 6-yard window you want the ball to land and (you need to) put enough air on it where they can get underneath it.”

Rudolph said timing was key to the execution of the touchdown and gave credit to Cousins.

“Had I been there earlier, the throw been a little later, then guys have time to grab … you’re never going to get a defensive pass interference call in that situation,” Rudolph said. “I put my foot in the ground and turned and the ball was right there. I’m able to go up and get it before they even realize that, ‘Oh, hey, the ball is here.’ It’s all on 8 (Cousins). I had the easy part. He just threw an absolute perfect ball. I just jumped up and caught it.”

Cousins said some with the Vikings changed the name from a Hail Mary after the touchdown. “They were calling it a Hail Rudy after that happened instead of a Hail Mary, so that was pretty good,” he said.

The post Hail Rudy: Vikings’ execution is nearly perfect on play they don’t practice appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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