Sunday, September 30, 2018 10:41 AM America
After his third straight game with 48 passing attempts or more, Cousins is on pace to break Matthew Stafford’s 2012 record of 727 passing attempts in a season by 29. And he’s already eclipsed several team records, having thrown the third-most touchdown passes (10) and the most passing yards by any Vikings quarterback (1,387) in the franchise’s first four games.
Those numbers are great, butKirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a bit of a hole to climb out of after falling to 1-2-1 with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, but the franchise quarterback is saying all the right things moving forward and it really now is a matter on if he can deliver on his promises. The veteran signal-caller, who signed a fully-guaranteed $84 million contract over three years this offseason, delivered a message to his team and fans heading into next week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“There will be a tremendous sense of urgency,” Cousins said. “We’ll have an edge to us in our preparation, and edge to us during that game. They’re the defending world champs, playing in their place, they’ve re-loaded and added some talent. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s what this league is all about.”
Fans are of course worried about what the team has shown so far with a three-game winless streak in the first quarter of the season, but Cousins was not willing to address the long-term outlook of the group after the loss to the Rams. Right now, things are one game at a time for this Vikings team.
Thursday, September 13, 2018 2:56 PM America
From pretty early in training camp, it was clear that Mike Hughes had special talent.Normally Mike Zimmer is cautious about over-praising young corners, but in mid-August, the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach raved about how quickly the team’s first-round pick was coming along as a nickel corner.UCF fans won’t soon forget the impact Mike Hughes had during his sole season with the Knights.
His 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against USF saved the Knights’ perfect 2017 season. But Hughes has moved onto a bigger stage and he’s already making an impact. Hughes spent most of last week’s practice working at the nickel spot in anticipation of replacing the injured Mackensie Alexander in the Vikings’ season-opener Sunday against San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Pressed into full-time duty because of injuries, the first-round draft pick had an eventful launch to his career in a 24-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Hughes had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown and a pass breakup in the end zone after replacing injured cornerback Trae Waynes with the first-team defense.
“I kind of blanked out,” Hughes said. “I was just amazed. All my teammates came around me. I was celebrating, I was getting the crowd hyped. It was a great feeling.”
Drafting Mike Hughes, a cornerback from UCF, with the 30th overall pick appeared at the time like a move made for the future. Even with more pressing needs, Minnesota wanted to add a key piece to its secondary. Mike Zimmer reminded that a team "can never have too many cornerbacks." "As many times as we can find guys that can cover around here, the more we want," Zimmer said the day after Hughes was drafted.
“That’s why we drafted him,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. “Everybody was complaining about taking a corner. I’m glad we had him today. ”"We expect him to go out there and do that," Zimmer said. "That’s why we drafted him. Everybody was complaining about taking that corner, I’m glad we had him today." His early impact is already paying dividends for a team that was able to capitalize on his potential much sooner than expected.
"He takes in everything from everyone around him, learns from everybody," Kearse said. "You could see it through OTAs and training camp. The guy moves great in and out of his breaks, fluid in his hips, so it’s not surprising he got out there (Sunday) and had a big game. I talked to him about it and told him now you’ve just got to keep it going."
Monday, September 10, 2018 4:06 PM America
While the arrival of Kirk Cousins has, understandably, gotten most of the attention in Minnesota, the return of running back Dalvin Cook can’t be overlooked.
It certainly was Sunday. Cook, playing his first regular-season game since tearing his left ACL on Oct. 1, 2017 against Detroit, was uneven running the ball, gaining 40 yards on 16 carries. But his receptions helped the Vikings take a 10-0 lead.
Dalvin Cook rushed six times for 22 yards in the first half, including that big run of 15 yards at the start of the second quarter. Caught five passes for 47 yards and showed how dangerous he can be on a screen pass with a 17 yard gain. Cook made the 49ers defense look silly up until Fred Warner forced a fumble on a key drive.
“There was nothing I had to prove,” Cook said. “I know the type of player I can be. “The Vikings know all the potential I’ve got … I just have to keep getting better every weekend … keep living up to it, which I am,” Cook added.
“I thought he had some good runs,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Sometimes there wasn’t anything there, but he ran hard. The one ball he fumbled, that was going to be a great run until he fumbled. He hasn’t had a lot of contact. We’ll get some more. I think this game will help him a lot.”
The game’s first play was a pass from Kirk Cousins to Cook for 9 yards, and the third play a completion to Cook for 12 yards. He had five catches for 47 yards by halftime, when Minnesota led 10-3. “I’m happy with catching the football,” Cook said. “(Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo), he’s got 100 percent trust in me to catch the football, so you can see he got me the ball a lot of times. … The screen was effective.”
That Cook was capable of such a big day isn’t a surprise. He became Florida State’s all-time leading rusher in just three seasons, and rushed for more yards than Adrian Peterson did in his first game with the Vikings. But the recovery from a knee injury, especially for a running back, can be a crapshoot.
Friday, September 07, 2018 2:50 PM America
As the final minutes leading up to Sunday's kickoff count down, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will be in the locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium, blasting music in preparation for the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.Dalvin Cook declared himself ready for the season, after getting two carries in the preseason.
Dalvin Cook’s first game back was a blink and you missed it preseason moment against the Seattle Seahawks. He carried the ball twice for one yard which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’ve been out for a full year with a torn ACL, it tells you that you are ready for the first regular season game.
Cook spoke with the Pioneer Press about his return. “I got it out of the way and now it’s time for me to hone in on what we’re doing as an offense. My knee is fine. It’s ready to go. I’m ready to play.”
As to whether he’s ready to resume a full workload, that remains to be seen. In the three games before he was injured last year, Cook was averaging more than 20 carries per game, which is what the Vikings envisioned when they drafted him in the second round. “Well, we’re going to find out real soon,” Cook said of his workload. “It’s different, man. In practice, I’m trying to help myself by finishing runs and finishing plays to get myself in that type of shape. Once the game comes around, it’s a different story. It’ll be a mental thing on the other side with pushing through and wanting to get it done.”
While Cook has been honest about the difference of full practices and being in “game shape” after his ACL recovery, the Vikings are going to keep that in mind as they apparently plan to give him all he can handle in Sunday’s opener against the 49ers, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
“We're not sure yet.We’ll see how it goes. There’s nothing that hasn’t told us that he can’t carry the load,” DeFilippo said Thursday when asked if Cook would be on a ‘pitch count.’ “If there’s something during the game that comes up where he needs a blow, or he needs to come out of the football game, then we’ll handle that situation.”
Tuesday, September 04, 2018 2:56 PM America
It’s the end of one era, and the beginning of another, for Terence Newman.
Veteran cornerback Terence Newman will retire from the NFL at the age of 39 after a 16-year career.
Per an official announcement from the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Newman will join the team's coaching staff immediately. He will work alongside defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, coaching the position he spent 15 seasons playing at the highest level. “I was definitely cool with it,” said Newman, who finished his career with 42 interceptions. “It was something I wanted to try eventually. I figured this was the best time.”
Newman, who turns 40 on Sept. 4, entered the league in 2003 out of Kansas State as the fifth overall pick with the Dallas Cowboys, where he first played for Zimmer, then the Cowboys defensive coordinator. He later reunited with Zimmer with the Cincinnati Bengals for two seasons (2012-13) before joining the coach with the Vikings in 2015.
The 5-foot-10, 197-pound Newman, a two-time Pro Bowler, finishes his career with 42 interceptions, which would have ranked second among active players had Newman played another season. Newman caps off a remarkable professional run by appearing in 221 career games with 205 starts.
Newman chose to return to the Vikings in the spring and said the 2018 season was going to be his last as a player.
But his final ride lasted only a few months as the veteran will now experience games from the sideline.
“It’s probably going to be different the first time, not having done it before,” Newman said. “Probably one of those things where you have to really experience it to be able to talk about it. “I mean, I don’t know what the feeling I’ll have or if I’ll have a rush of emotions, or be nervous as hell because I can’t do anything on the field depending on how the game is going or whatever,” Newman added. “That’ll be one I just let happen and just go with it.”
Friday, August 31, 2018 3:06 PM America
There's no debating how much money Kirk Cousins will make over the next three years: the Vikings quarterback signed a fully-guaranteed, $84 million contract this offseason. There's not any injury guarantee or incentives or any other frills. It's a very simple, very large deal he signed in free agency.
The fully-guaranteed contract set a new standard for top-tier quarterbacks, but it might not have been as valuable if Cousins and his camp hadn't had the help of a competing offer from the New York Jets worth even more money.
In a documentary covering Cousins' journey through free agency that was posted to the Vikings website, Cousins and his agent Mike McCartney revealed that Minnesota's original offer was for a three-year deal worth $25 million annually. Cousins then got an offer from the Jets worth $30 million a year, giving his camp an opportunity to raise his price to other teams.
At one point in the documentary, Cousins said that McCartney would look to get the Vikings offer "to a number that is competitive with the Jets’ offer." Then Cousins turned down a record $90 million deal from the New York Jets.
He also explained it like this:
“How much should I make it about the money?” Cousins asked rhetorically. “As a retired player looking back do you wish you had made more money or you had won more games? … The hope would be that this isn’t a decision for two or three years. This is a decision for decades. It could be a place where we end up staying and raising our kids. This is a life-altering decision.”
In the end, the situation worked out well for all involved. Cousins got himself a huge new contract, the Vikings brought in a quarterback that they believe can help them win a Super Bowl, and the Jets wound up with Sam Darnold and a surprising amount of quarterback depth that could wind up netting a high return on investment.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 5:36 PM America
Minnesota Vikings center Pat Elflein will finish out the remainder of the preseason on the sideline.
Mike Zimmer said Pat Elflein will not practice this week ahead of the team's final preseason game on Thursday., but he does not think he's at risk of starting the season on the PUP list, which would require him to be there for the first six weeks before being activated (like Teddy Bridgewater was last season). Regarding when he expects to see him practice, "he's going to practice when hes ready to go. I don't know when that will be."
Hours after Zimmer updated reporters on Elflein's condition, the Vikings moved to address their depth on the offensive line, trading for Giants center Brett Jones from the New York Giants.
The Vikings sent a 2019 pick to New York for Jones, who appeared in 30 games for New York. He does have 12 starts at center.
Elflein underwent two surgeries in the offseason after fracturing his left ankle in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also injured his shoulder in Atlanta in December. The 24-year-old has been limited to working out with trainers in the weight room and on a rehab field over the last month.
It's a situation the Vikings found themselves in with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in 2017, who started the regular season on the PUP list and was eventually moved to the active roster for Minnesota's Week 10 win in Washington.
Injuries have affected Minnesota's offensive line throughout the preseason. In addition to Elflein's prolonged absence, the Vikings lost left guard Easton for the season after he underwent surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck. Right guard Mike Remmers saw his first preseason action against Seattle after injuring his left ankle during the team's fourth practice in training camp.
Friday, August 24, 2018 5:14 PM America
Kirk Cousins was in his eighth game in his new role as a starting quarterback in the NFL when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots roughed up Cousins’ Washington Redskins with a 17-point win that dropped Cousins to 3-5 on the season.
Following a frustrating appearance against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Saturday, Kirk Cousins was reminded of a conversation he had with Tom Brady about finding comfort in his team’s offense. “I remember when we played the Patriots in 2015, I just asked Tom [Brady], ‘At what point did it start clicking for you?’ Essentially what I am asking him was, ‘At what point did you have it completely figured out?’ He said, “It’s still clicking. It’s still a process,'” Cousins said. “I’ve always taken that with me and felt like every day I come out here I pick up something new. I sharpen a skill. It will always be that way until the day I retire. Certainly, when you are in your first year in an offense and haven’t played in a real game yet, there is a lot more sharpening to do than year five or six.”
This is Cousins' first season with the Vikings after he signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract this offseason. He has a lot of pressure on him after the Vikings fell one game short of the Super Bowl last season and picked him up essentially to get them over that hump. He's still getting to where he needs to this season, but he told reporters Wednesday it's all part of his process as a quarterback. "Every day I come out here I pick up something new," he said. "I sharpen a skill. It will always be that way until the day I retire."
The third preseason game, dubbed the dress rehearsal for Week 1, often comes with the more playing time for the starters. Though that will paint a better picture given the length of time the first-team offense will be together, there will still be questions after the Vikings face the Seahawks, and that's OK.
"Still hard to tell," Cousins said of the offense. "But in practice we trade blows with the defense. We go down here on a drive and score but then they may have a great play and stop us on another period of practice. You just trade blows back and forth and it's hard to know where you are as a team. It's hard to simulate game day and the way an offense needs to operate just in practice. We do our best but that's why I think it does take the first few weeks of the regular season to really evaluate where you are as a team, as an offense."
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 11:38 AM America
On Monday, the Vikings announced that they released veteran kicker Kai Forbath and that Carlson will be the starter entering his rookie season. The former Auburn kicker was selected by Minnesota in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Two days after missing a 41-yard goal attempt against the Jacksonville Jaguars, kicker Kai Forbath learned his fate. "We just figured it was getting close to the last couple of preseason games," coach Mike Zimmer said. "Kai did a great job while he was here. He's a great kid. We just decided to go with Daniel." Carlson, the Vikings' fifth-round pick of the 2018 draft, converted an extra point against the Jaguars, and went 2 of 2 on field goal attempts, including a 57-yard effort, the previous week against the Denver Broncos.
"I think he's a really good guy and a great locker room guy," Vikings receiver Adam Thielen said regarding Carlson. "He's done a great job in these preseason games. Now he should have the confidence to go out there and perform well now that he's the guy." Now Carlson, the Auburn record holder and SEC's all-time leading scorer, begins in earnest his role as Vikings kicker that comes with an infamous history and Super Bowl expectations. The 23-year-old said he's not going to ignore pressure that comes with a team that made the NFC Championship Game last season.Daniel Carlson Jersey .
"Definitely embrace," Carlson said. "I think you want to be on a winning team. I came into a situation where, with what they did last season, I'm just going to take that and run with it. Do my job one day at a time and hopefully be a part of that success. As a kicker, I hope I get lots of extra points. When we get some big field goals, I'll be ready."
Friday, August 17, 2018 5:51 PM America
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said he’s ready for game action after a knee injury forced an early exit to his 2017 season. By all accounts, Cook will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, but he was held out of Week 1 of preseason against the Broncos.
After being asked if there’s anything left to test before seeing game action in Week 1, Cook responded by saying (via the Vikings official Twitter account) “the coaches know” his progress and “my knee is ready to go.” Cook tore his ACL against the Detroit Lions in Week 4 last season, an injury that forced him to forego the remainder of what looked to be a promising rookie campaign.
Cook hasn't played in a game in more than 10 months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 4 of last season. He has been back on the practice field throughout training camp, and while he's reiterated time and time again that he's ready to go, the Vikings are being extremely cautious.
Will he be ready against the Jaguars in Week 2 of preseason?
“I don’t know if he’s going to play this Saturday or not,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday. “But not really. The only thing we’re trying to do is each day we’re trying to stack on a few more plays, few more days in a row. That’s really what we’re really trying to do, is trying to get him in game ready shape.” That said, Cook has been allowed to participate in the two joint practices with the Jaguars this week.Dalvin Cook Jersey .
"It actually felt like I was going into a game," Cook said. "I was pumped up just to get some different bodies out there in front of me and get things going. I was pumped up. I was ready to go. It was a good environment for me to be in to get get my body around different players." Cook showed Wednesday he's still got his acceleration, taking a number of handoffs from quarterback Kirk Cousins as well as catching some passes out of the backfield.
It would be nice to see Cook in the preseason before the regular season, but if the coaches are telling the truth, Cook has displayed enough in training camp to show them he’s ready to play. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to risk him during preseason.