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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Cousins Perfect As Vikings Top Broncos, 42-28

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

DENVER (AP) — Kirk Cousins was perfect in his cameo, and then kicked back and watched two former Broncos quarterbacks tear apart their old teammates.

Cousins completed all four of his passes in the Vikings’ 42-28 exhibition victory Saturday night, including a 1-yard touchdown strike on a quick slant to Stefon Diggs .

“I think it was a smooth first drive but it is a small sample size and the next couple of weeks will be a good test for us,” Cousins said.

Diggs called it a good first step.

“He’s a good quarterback,” Diggs said. “He makes some great throws.”

Case Keenum wasn’t nearly as sharp in his Denver debut, completing just 1 of 4 passes for 5 yards spanning two drives.

“It’s just frustrating not playing well and you don’t have a chance to bounce back from it,” Keenum said.

Cousins was the crown jewel of this year’s free-agent class of quarterbacks, signing an $84 million, three-year deal in Minneapolis. That meant Keenum was out two months after leading the Vikings to the NFC championship, and he signed a $36 million, two-year deal with Denver.

The Broncos then traded their starter, Trevor Siemian, to the Vikings to serve as Cousins’ backup — so long as he beats out Kyle Sloter, another former Denver QB.

That left Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly vying for No. 2 duty in Denver.

So, this preseason opener was filled with quarterback intrigue.

After Cousins’ single series — one in which he didn’t have to face Von Miller — Siemian led Minnesota on three scoring drives, most notably a screen pass to Roc Thomas that beat the blitz for a 78-yard score .

Siemian was 11 of 17 for 165 yards, two TDs and an interception against his old team.

“It was a little weird for sure, but good to see old buddies,” Siemian said.

Lynch, the former first-rounder twice beaten out by Siemian in Denver, was just 6 of 11 for 24 yards and an interception.

“Obviously I’m upset,” he said.

Despite 17 yards passing overall in the first half, the Broncos only trailed 24-14 at halftime thanks to Isaiah McKenzie’s 78-yard punt return for a TD and rookie Royce Freeman’s 23-yard TD scamper — Denver’s only first down before halftime.

Just when the crowd was starting to lament losing Siemian and Sloter, in came Kelly to fire up the crowd.

Kelly threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt LaCosse. Amid chants of “Kelly! Kelly!” he also drove Denver 85 yards in 11 plays, capping the drive with a 19-yard strike to running back Phillip Lindsay to put the Broncos on top 28-27 with 10 minutes remaining.

Sloter, who was cut by Denver a year ago, responded by throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chad Beebe with six minutes left to put the Vikings back on top. His strike to Jeff Badet for the 2-point conversion made it 35-28.

Safety Jack Tocho picked off Kelly at the Denver 30-yard line with 5:23 left, and Sloter sealed it with a 14-yard bootleg for the score.

Sloter was 9 of 11 for 69 yards and Kelly was 14 of 20 for 176.

Lynch might be losing in his battle to be the backup, but he insisted he’s “excited for Chad.”

“Chad’s been playing really well and he deserves that,” Lynch said. “He’s a good kid.”

Broncos coach Vance Joseph wasn’t quite ready to elevate Kelly to No. 2 QB, saying he had to study the film.

“Obviously, Case is the starter, so that’s my main concern,” Joseph said. “Chad has played well. He played well tonight, outside of the one interception, which led to a score for those guys. He’s a guy that plays with a lot of confidence. That’s a good deal.”

MCKENZIE MAGIC

Joseph’s faith in McKenzie finally paid off with his punt return for a score.

“Huge for him,” said Joseph, who stuck with McKenzie last year despite a half-dozen fumbles. “He’s obviously a talent. His issue last year wasn’t talent. It was more decision-making. We’re helping him fix that so he can help us win games.”

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Linebacker Brandon Marshall and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas weren’t with their teammates on the sideline for the national anthem. They emerged from the tunnel behind the Broncos’ bench after the anthem was over.

“We didn’t know about that,” Joseph said. “But it’s their right.”

INJURIES

Broncos S Jamal Carter (hamstring), CB Marcus Rios (hip) and TE Austin Traylor (right shoulder) got hurt.

NEXT UP

Vikings: Host Jaguars on Aug. 18.

Broncos: Host Bears on Aug. 18.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Source:: CBS Minnesota

Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs get off to a great start

By Mike Florio The Vikings paid free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins a ton of money in the offseason. More recently, they paid less money (but still a lot) to fourth-year receiver Stefon Diggs. On Saturday night, Cousins and Diggs provided a glimpse regarding what a pair of guys making more than $42 million per year combined can do. Cousins [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Kirk Cousins sharp as advertised in brief Vikings debut

By Shook, Nick Kirk Cousins’ time on Saturday night was short, and boy, was it sweet. The Vikings quarterback was a perfect 4-for-4 for 42 yards and one touchdown in his lone drive against the Broncos.

Source:: National Football League

Solid debut for Kirk Cousins

By Mike Florio The Vikings didn’t pay quarterback Kirk Cousins $28 million per year for solid preseason performances. They nevertheless got one on Saturday night. Cousins, in only one drive in his debut with the team, led the Vikings on an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The former Washington quarterback completed four of four passes for 42 yards and [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

The six 49ers injured on Thursday could be back by Week One

By Mike Florio The 49ers lost six players to injury in the preseason opener. There’s a good chance each will be back by the time the regular season begins. “Yes, it looks like, we’re hoping they’ll all be available Week One to start the season,” coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Friday. “I know [linebacker] Malcolm [Smith], he [more]

Source:: ProFootballTalk

Our 10 favorite ‘One-Hit Wonders’ in Minnesota sports history

By Derek Wetmore

We all have that one band we like as a guilty pleasure. They only made one hit song but that song is at the top of our list.

One-hit wonders happen in sports, too. And the case of Minnesota sports, apparently they happen a lot.

Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad compiled their own top-10 list of their favorite one-hit wonders in Minnesota sports history.

Who’d we miss?

Judd’s list

1 Scott Bjugstad, North Stars
2 Lew Ford, Twins
3 Joe Mays, Twins
4 Troy Hudson, Timberwolves
5 Brad Palmer, North Stars
6 Randall Cunningham, Vikings
7 Eric Guliford, Vikings
8 Greg Lewis, Vikings
9 Scott Diamond, Twins
10 Alan Anderson, Twins

Phil’s list

T-1. Sidney Rice
T-1. Nate Burleson
2. Ndudi Ebi
3. Blair Walsh
4. Lew Ford
5. Matt Fox
6. Scott Diamond
7. Bobby Kielty
8. Doug Mientkiewicz
9. Carlos Silva
10. Joe Mays

Tell us on Facebook who we’re missing: https://www.facebook.com/1500espn

The post Our 10 favorite ‘One-Hit Wonders’ in Minnesota sports history appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Purple FTW! Podcast: No Fighting on a Friday feat. Darren Wolfson + @JReidNFL (ep. 596)

By Andy Carlson

Over a two day span, the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings weathered a Richie Incognito drama storm and their number one cornerback Xavier Rhodes had enough beef with wide receiver Stefon Diggs that head coach Mike Zimmer kicked them out of practice. Pretty standard week for this team tbh. To help sort through the headlines, we got our guy Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) of Inside The Pylon and Locked On Vikings. Plus the latest on the Vikings offensive line injuries with Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) of The Scoop Podcast.

All that and more “No Beef Like India” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

A Carlson Digital Joint

Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel!


Listen to the Episode Below!


Dedicated to the Pain AND Pleasure that is the Minnesota Vikings.

Subscribe: iTunes | iHeart | Stitcher | PodcastOne | 1500ESPN

The post Purple FTW! Podcast: No Fighting on a Friday feat. Darren Wolfson + @JReidNFL (ep. 596) appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Zimmer Calls For Calm Amid Vikings’ Offensive Line Woes

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As if things weren’t bad enough for the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line, with starting center Pat Elflein and right guard Mike Remmers unable to practice, now left guard Nick Easton is out for the season due to surgery to correct a bulging disc in his neck.

The team’s already shorthanded offensive line is now even shorter. Meanwhile, coaches are shuffling players around to try and find a workable mix.

“We’re always trying different things, looking for different people,” said head coach Mike Zimmer. “So we’ll see what happens.”

With Elflein on the PUP list and Easton out, former practice squad member Cornelius Edison is now the team’s starting center.

“He’s improved tremendously since he’s come here last year on the practice squad,” Zimmer said. “He’s a fighter…He’s got a little stoutness to him. So he’s done a nice job.”

With their season opener exactly one month away, the situation is the complete opposite of ideal.

Zimmer says he’s not worried.

“I know everybody’s nervous about our offensive line, but I like the mentality of those guys,” he said. “I like how they work. I’m around them quite a bit. And they’re going to figure out a way to get it done. So: Calm.”

Sounds a little bit like Aaron Rodgers’ “RELAX” from a couple years ago.

The Vikings face the Broncos Saturday night in Denver.

Zimmer said quarterback Kirk Cousins will be in the game as long as the first-team offensive line is…but there’s no telling how long that might be, especially with so many of them out.

WCCO’s Mike Max will have reports from Denver this weekend.

Source:: CBS Minnesota

Zulgad: Cousins should sit; a front office failure; and how Diggs vs. Rhodes sets a tone

By Judd Zulgad

Kirk Cousins likely will play a series in his Vikings debut in Saturday’s preseason opener in Denver. The smart move would be for the team’s $84 million quarterback to spend the entire game wearing a baseball cap on the sideline.

That’s because there is nothing to be gained by putting Cousins on the field for a few plays against the Broncos with three-fifths of his starting offensive line missing. This includes left guard Nick Easton, center Pat Elflein and right guard Mike Remmers.

Easton reportedly underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his neck on Thursday morning and is expected to miss the season. Elflein remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list after undergoing ankle and shoulder surgery during the offseason and Remmers has missed time because of an ankle injury. Elflein can come off the PUP at any time and Remmers should be back soon.

Getting Cousins work with his new offense will be important but that already has begun in training camp practices. The most important thing is keeping Cousins in one piece, so why take any chances?

Cousins can get plenty of work in the preseason once Elflein and Remmers return and that will be more valuable given building timing and chemistry with the starting offensive line is a key. Playing behind a line that includes starters Riley Reiff and Rashod Hill at the tackle spots, backups Tom Compton and Danny Isidora at the guards and Cornelius Edison at center means that if Cousins does throw any passes on Saturday they are likely to be quick ones in order to avoid pressure.

What the Vikings should do is start Trevor Siemian on Saturday against his former team and then get long looks at Kyle Sloter, who spent training camp in Denver last year, and undrafted rookie free agent Peter Pujals.

That would be the wise move.

A FIRST GUESS

Coming off a 13-3 season and with a roster that looked ready to make a run at the Super Bowl, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was expected to select a guard early in the April draft.

Veteran Joe Berger, who moved from center to guard for the 2017 season, announced his retirement in March and there were plenty of good young prospects who could have been plugged in. So when the 30th pick in the first round arrived, it was safe to assume the Vikings would address a clear need.

Only that didn’t happen.

Instead, the Vikings selected cornerback Mike Hughes of Central Florida. Considering how much coach Mike Zimmer values cornerbacks and how hard it is to find good ones, this didn’t come as a complete surprise.

The thought was the Vikings would trade up in the second round to take a guard. But when the run on the position started, the Vikings were nowhere to be found.

Will Hernandez of UTEP went with the second pick of the second round to the New York Giants; Braden Smith of Auburn was taken with the fifth pick by Indianapolis; and Connor Williams of Texas went with the 18th pick to Dallas. In all five offensive linemen, including Iowa center James Daniels, were selected in the second round before the Vikings used the 30th pick (62nd overall) on Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill.

The failure to take a guard, led to the Vikings’ decision to move Remmers from right tackle to right guard and to promote Hill from a backup role to right tackle. This seemed to be tempting fate, not to mention getting too cute when an obvious solution had been presented.

Spielman often has talked about taking the best player available, but this seemed to be a special case given how few actual needs the roster seemed to have for 2018. The unexpected loss of Easton makes the Vikings’ decision look that much worse and it doesn’t help that Elflein and Remmers are injured.

If Minnesota had drafted a guard in the first round or early in the second, the main concern right now would be focused on replacing Easton. Instead, the Vikings have to be worried about not only the left guard spot but also in how Remmers will do in his move to guard and how Hill is going to perform as the starting right tackle.

For a team that should have learned a lesson about how important offensive line depth can be during a 2016 season in which things fell apart, it’s remarkable that the Vikings might have put themselves back in the same situation.

What makes it even more of a head-scratcher is that Cousins isn’t nearly as mobile as last year’s starter, Case Keenum. Cousins needs the pocket to hold up and, yet, that might not be the case.

If the line does struggle, Spielman and Zimmer will have to answer plenty of questions about the direction they elected to go on draft night.

LET’S END ON A POSITIVE

It was a big story that wide receiver Stefon Diggs and cornerback Xavier Rhodes were sent home by Zimmer for Wednesday’s practice after getting into it during Tuesday’s session and going back-and-forth (verbally) during the walk-through on Wednesday morning.

Zimmer called it “undisciplined stuff,” saying, “they did not make me happy.”

Privately you have to think Zimmer was thrilled by the Diggs-Rhodes battle.

Here are two highly paid, star players who take so much pride in their one-on-one battles in a training camp practice that neither would back down. Rhodes is one of the NFL’s best corners and yet he was so upset that Diggs caught a 50-yard touchdown on him that he remained on the field for several reps afterward and even insisted on playing with the third-team defense.

Having covered this team for many years, I can’t tell you the number of times where I thought a wide receiver or cornerback should be sent home because they either looked like they didn’t care or were just not good.

It’s going to be difficult for a young player not to give full effort, when guys like Diggs and Rhodes are willing to go this hard in an August practice.

The post Zulgad: Cousins should sit; a front office failure; and how Diggs vs. Rhodes sets a tone appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Man down on the offensive line! (ep 349)

By Derek Wetmore

Matthew Coller and Judd Zulgad break down what happens next for the Minnesota Vikings after losing left guard Nick Easton to injury.

The post Man down on the offensive line! (ep 349) appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire