Vikings’ Anthony Harris named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Vikings S Anthony Harris has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Atlanta in Week 1. Harris had a career game versus the Falcons, intercepting a pair of Matt Ryan passes that led to two touchdowns by the Vikings. The Chesterfield, Virginia, native also recovered his third-career fumble in the second quarter that resulted in a scoring drive by Minnesota.

Overall, Minnesota scored 21 points off Harris’ takeaways, sealing the Vikings’ 28-12 win on Kickoff Weekend. He tallied five tackles (three solo) and three passes defensed against the Falcons altogether. Harris’ four interceptions since Week 11 of the 2018 season are tied for most in the NFL while his two interceptions to start 2019 are tops in the league.

The NFC Player of the Week award is the first of Harris’ career, and the fifth by a Vikings defensive back under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings have now had an NFC Player of the Week in four consecutive season openers.

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Vikings bring back C Brett Jones

The Minnesota Vikings have brought back C Brett Jones, the team announced today. According to The Athletic’s Chad Graff, the Vikings never had Jones clear out his locker after they cut him last week, which makes you believe that the plan was to bring Jones back all along. 

The 28-year-old Jones was released by Minnesota after the team signed WR Josh Doctson.

To make room for Jones, the team released TE Brandon Dillon.

Vikings’ OC on Dalvin Cook: ‘I think he really fits the mentality of our offense, the mentality of our team’

If the preseason is any indication, RB Dalvin Cook could have a breakout season in 2019 for the Minnesota Vikings.  In his only preseason action, the third-year back ripped off an 85-yard TD run against the Cardinals. Cook, who was 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, entered the 2018 season coming off a torn ACL in his rookie season. In 2018, Cook was solid as he rushed for 615 yards, including two rushing touchdowns, but the Vikings are hoping to get more out him this season.

Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski can’t wait to see Cook this weekend as Minnesota hosts the Atlanta Falcons.

“I’m really excited to see Dalvin (Cook) out there on Sunday,” Stefanski said on Thursday. “He’s a kid that, as you all know, works really hard and has worked his tail off to get back from injury so now he’s feeling healthy. He’s raring to go.”

According to Stefanski, Cook has shown that he has some leadership skills as well.

“The Dalvin Cook that I’m so impressed with is the leader, is the guy that works and leads by example, maybe not vocally all the time,” Stefanski said. “Our players are very well aware of that guy when he’s on the practice field because you see him not only doing his job but doing it with great passion and working. We’re in a drill, and he’ll go take a run and burst for an extra 50 yards because he’s getting into that shape. The guys just see a worker. I think he really fits the mentality of our offense, the mentality of our team.”

The best friend to any quarterback is a running game, and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success with throws coming off of play-action throughout his career. If Cook can stay healthy and be productive, Cousins and the Vikings’ offense could have a lot of success on the offensive side of the ball this season. 

Vikings sign WR Josh Doctson

Josh Doctson has signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced today. According to reports, it’s a one-year deal. The 26-year-old Doctson joined the Vikings after being released by Washington on Saturday.

The fourth-year pro has appeared in 33 career games with 26 starts, all with Washington, while posting 81 career receptions for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. Doctson was selected 22nd overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by Washington, where he was teammates with Vikings QB Kirk Cousins from 2016-17.

The Mansfield, Texas, native was teammates with Vikings practice squad T Aviante Collins at TCU from 2013-15.

Vikings cut Sloter, Vedvik, Treadwell; trims roster down to 53

The Minnesota Vikings announce the following roster moves:

WAIVED:

PLAYER………………. POS… EXP………………. COLLEGE

Ade Aruna (Injured)……. DE…… 2……………………. Tulane

Jeff Badet……………….. WR…… 1……………….. Oklahoma

Khari Blasingame……….. FB…… R……………….. Vanderbilt

Jake Browning…………… QB…… R……………… Washington

Reshard Cliett……………. LB…… 3…………… South Florida

Aviante Collins…………….. T…… 3………………………. TCU

Curtis Cothran…………… DT…… 1………………. Penn State

Davion Davis……………. WR…… R…… Sam Houston State

Devante Downs………….. LB…… 2………………… California

Cornelius Edison………….. C…… 4………….. Portland State

De’Angelo Henderson……. RB…… 3……….. Coastal Carolina

Cole Hikutini………………. TE…… 3…………………. Louisville

Alexander Hollins………. WR…… R………….. Eastern Illinois

Craig James……………… CB…… 2………… Southern Illinois

Stacy Keely………………. DE…… R………………………. UAB

John Keenoy………………. C…… R…….. Western Michigan

Greer Martini…………….. LB…… 1…………….. Notre Dame

Nate Meadors……………. CB…… R…………………….. UCLA

Dillon Mitchell…………… WR…… R…………………… Oregon

Storm Norton………………. T…… 2……………………. Toledo

Tito Odenigbo……………. DT…… R………………. Miami (FL)

Anree Saint-Amour…….. DE…… R…………… Georgia Tech

Karter Schult…………….. DE…… 2………….. Northern Iowa

Kyle Sloter……………….. QB…… 3…….. Northern Colorado

Cameron Smith………….. LB…… R……… Sothern California

Derron Smith………………. S…… 4……………. Fresno State

Duke Thomas……………. CB…… 2…………………….. Texas

Laquon Treadwell……… WR…… 4………………. Mississippi

Kaare Vedvik……………. P/K…… 1………………….. Marshall

Nate Wozniak……………… T…… 1……………….. Minnesota

Isaiah Wharton (Injured)……… S…… R………………….. Rutgers

Brandon Zylstra………… WR…… 2…. Concordia-Moorhead

 

PLACED ON RESERVE/SUSPENDED:

PLAYER………………. POS… EXP………………. COLLEGE         

Holton Hill……………….. CB…….. 2…………………….. Texas

 

PLACED ON RESERVE/PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (PUP):

PLAYER………………. POS… EXP………………. COLLEGE

David Morgan…………… TE…….. 4……. Texas-San Antonio

 

PLACED ON RESERVE/NON-FOOTBALL INJURY (NFI):

PLAYER………………. POS… EXP………………. COLLEGE

Tashawn Bower……….. DE…….. 3……………………….. LSU

 

ACQUIRED VIA TRADE FROM KANSAS CITY FOR A CONDITIONAL SELECTION IN 2021 NFL DRAFT:

PLAYER………………. POS… EXP………………. COLLEGE

Mark Fields……………… CB……. R…………………. Clemson

The Vikings active roster now stands at 53 players

Zimmer on Cousins: ‘I think he can play a lot better than that’

For Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, Saturday’s performance against Arizona is something he would like to forget. Cousins completed only 3 of 13 passes for 35 yards, but fortunately for the Vikings and Cousins, this game does not count, and luckily for the Vikings, they were able to defeat the visiting Cardinals 20-9.

“Yeah, I think he can play a lot better than that,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said after the game.

According to Cousins, who played the whole first half, he knows that if he and the Vikings play the way that they did on Saturday, there is going to be a lot of struggles in Minnesota this season.

“I’ll just start by saying really disappointing performance,” Cousins said. “Put it on me. It wasn’t good enough. If we play that way during the season, it’s going to be a very tough year. So we have to be much better than we were today, and I really should say I have to be much better than I was today. It’s about as simple as that.”

The Vikings were without their top WR Adam Thielen on Saturday, but according to Cousins, Minnesota had a lot of issues on Saturday.

“I don’t think it’s any one thing. I think it’s a lot of things,” he said. “I don’t think you can put your finger on any one issue, but the bigger issue is just we were certainly off balance. It was disappointing.”

When it comes to preseason, you don’t get too high, and you don’t get too low, so while the Vikings first-team offense was bad against the Cardinals, outside of RB Dalvin Cook(85-yard TD run), it’s only preseason. Now, if Cousins looks like this way against the Falcons in Week 1, then there should be some concern in Minnesota.

Cousins on third preseason game: ‘We want to put together a good showing against their starters’

In the NFL, the third preseason game is where the starters play the most and is traditionally a dress rehearsal for teams around the league, and for the Minnesota Vikings, it will be no different when they host the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

Thus far this preseason, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has led the team on only three drives, two of those drives ended in points, and on Saturday, he expects to play longer, which will help just in case the team gets off to a slow start against Arizona.

“I think the challenge with the first two games is if you don’t start fast, don’t play well early, you feel like you had a horrible game, and in reality if you play four quarters maybe you don’t, it just took you longer to get going,” Cousins said on Thursday. “So the nice thing with the third game is you have a little bit larger sample size in case you don’t start fast, but certainly we hope to and expect to start fast.”

Cousins and his teammates want to treat this game like it’s a regular season contest, and hopes that it will better prepare the team for Week 1 when they host the Atlanta Falcons.

“We want to put together a good showing against their starters with a longer amount of time on the field,” Cousins said. “It’ll be great to be at home and get familiar with that since Week 1 will be at home as well. Just similar to the others, it’s a dress rehearsal, but we’re going to treat it as a game and do all we can to be ready so then come Week 1, we’ve worked through as many possible scenarios as we can.”

The essential thing in the preseason is to avoid injuries, and while you want to look sharp, the most important thing is to stay healthy. Last season, in preseason game number three, Cousins played the whole first half, so expect something similar against the Cardinals on Saturday night.

Zimmer on Sloter: ‘There’s a lot of things that he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback’

Coming into the 2019 season, the Minnesota Vikings have their starting QB set and ready to go in Kirk Cousins, and the backup at this point is fifth-year quarterback Sean Mannion.

However, if third-year quarterback Kyle Sloter continues to play well in the preseason, he could make the case that he should be the backup to Cousins.

In two preseason games, Sloter has completed 17 of 20 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Sloter was impressive against the Seahawks on Sunday as he went 11-13 for 116 yards and one touchdown.

The numbers look good, but according to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“I don’t know. I don’t know that you guys know all the little details about everything, you just see how he goes and does the game,” Zimmer said about Sloter on Tuesday. “He’s got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback. Making the right checks, getting people in the right formation, making sure the motion is there, not missing the time clock when it’s eight yards in front of you. There’s a lot of things that he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback.”

With those comments, it seems clear that Zimmer has more faith in Mannion coming into the season, and it’s hard to argue. Mannion has more experience and has started a game in the NFL. Plus, Zimmer knows what he sees in practice, and that is enough for him to know that Mannion is the guy to backup Cousins in 2019.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacts to Holton Hill’s hit on Paxton Lynch

Keeping your starting quarterback healthy is essential for all 32 teams in the NFL, and the league goes out of its way to protect them. However, this is football, and sometimes things happen, which was the case last night in Minnesota.

Late in the 4th quarter, Seattle Seahawks QB Paxton Lynch was scrambling, and before he could get down, Lynch was walloped by Vikings CB Holton Hill in a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. Lynch would leave the game, and Hill would get ejected.

According to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Lynch is in concussion protocol, while Hill, who was already suspended for the first eight games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse, and for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, will probably lose some more money for the illegal hit.

After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacted to the hit.

“Number one, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Zimmer said. “I told Pete (Carroll) that after the game. I was sorry about his quarterback. Number two, he can’t drop his head. But saying that, when a quarterback is running an option, he ought to be fair game other than lowering your head and hitting him in the head. If they’re going to let these quarterbacks be runners, we should be able to hit him. He didn’t hit him legally. We need to (be able to) hit these guys.”

It’s a tough thing to legislate at times, but in the end, you go helmet-to-helmet with a quarterback, you are probably going to pay a hefty fine and possibly get ejected. Hate it or love it; this is just the nature of the game in 2019.

Vikings’ Holton Hill suspended an additional four games by NFL

Minnesota Vikings CB Holton Hill has been suspended an additional four games by the NFL for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse, the league announced today.

In April, the NFL announced that Hill was suspended for the first four games of  the 2019 season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

In 16 games last season with the Vikings, which included three starts, Hill recorded 36 tackles, an interception and seven passes defensed

Hill is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. With this new suspension, he now will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster on Monday, October 25, following the team’s October 24 game vs. Washington.