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Kirk Cousins enjoyed his first true taste of Minnesota’s

11 months 4 weeks ago #20488 by zhangzk
Cousins was flawless in his lone series in Minnesota’s new offensive scheme Dexter Lawrence Jersey , backup Sean Mannion delivered a scoring pass under a heavy rush, and the Vikings defeated New Orleans 34-25 in the preseason opener for both clubs Friday night.The game marked the Vikings’ first test of their new offense directed by coordinator Kevin Stefanski and influenced by adviser Gary Kubiak.Article continues below ...“To be able to rotate that many different players in at so many different positions throughout four quarters and continue to have sustained success moving the football, I think it does say a lot about Kevin’s play calling and about the system and about the execution,” Cousins said. “So many guys got involved in the game and made plays.”During the one series in which the first-team offense played, Cousins drove the Vikings 81 yards for a touchdown in eight plays, completing all four passes for 65 yards. Cousins connected on a pair of short passes before finding Adam Thielen for 35 yards down the right side, setting up a 1-yard scoring pass to third-round draft choice Alexander Mattison.“If you’re only going to play one series … it could have been three-and-out, so to be able to go down there and score, you can’t draw it up much better than that,” Cousins said. “It’s not a lot to build on, so you take from it what it is. But if we’re going to have a drive, better to go down there and score and be that efficient than to do anything else.”Mannion was 7 of 13 for 102 yards, highlighted by his 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie Olabisi Johnson as Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson bolted into the backfield and hit the backup QB. Johnson Deandre Baker Jersey , a seventh-round draft pick and a candidate for Minnesota’s No. 3 receiver, made the catch while leaping and reaching back over the shoulders of veteran defensive back Patrick Robinson to bring in the ball.Third-string Vikings QB Kyle Sloter also threw for a touchdown, finding Khari Blasingame from 2 yards out.With Saints record-setting QB Drew Brees getting the night off, ex-Viking Teddy Bridgewater started. He played throughout the first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown on an 18-yard pass to tight end Dan Arnold.But Arnold essentially gave that score right back early in the second half when he was unable to secure a pass from Taysom Hill and the ball squirted straight into the arms of defensive back Nate Meadors, who easily returned his interception 30 yards for a touchdown.Hill played throughout the second half, going 8 of 14 for 80 yards and one touchdown on Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s 33-yard, tackle-breaking catch and run.Vikings second-year running back Mike Boone broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put Minnesota up 34-25.Former LSU track athlete and New Orleans native Cyril Grayson Jr. had a pair of crowd-pleasing moments with his 32-yard catch down the right side from Bridgewater and his 40-yard kickoff return.“We just wanted to take a shot,” Bridgewater said. “Cyril is a guy who can run.”INTERFERENCE CHALLENGESEach team made a coach’s challenge allowed by new rules pertaining to pass interference.Vikings coach Mike Zimmer asked officials to review whether the Saints had committed offensive pass interference after a first-down play on which no flag was thrown. The challenge was rejected.Saints coach Sean Payton unsuccessfully challenged a defensive pass interference penalty that set up Blasingame’s short TD.“It was fine,” Payton said. “They are going to have to see something substantial to overturn it. We’re going to get used to it.”HOMECOMINGMinnesota rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr., a second-rounder out of Alabama, was making his NFL preseason debut on his 21st birthday in his hometown, where his father Oshane Ximines Jersey , Irv Smith Sr., once played tight end for the Saints. He was targeted seven times and finished with three catches for 21 yards.Smith said he met family and close friends for dinner at the Palace Cafe, a popular downtown Creole eatery, after the team landed Thursday. While Smith couldn’t resist the restaurant’s renowned white chocolate bread pudding with whiskey sauce, he said he also saved room for the birthday cake his mother baked.After the game, he swapped jerseys with Saints interior lineman Will Clapp, a former high school teammate who played at Crimson Tide rival LSU.NEW CENTERSThe top draft choice for each team last spring was a center.Minnesota’s Garrett Bradbury, drafted 18th overall, played on the opening drive.“He was great. I thought he was as he’d been all through practice,” Cousins said. “Great command. Really sharp. No concerns whatsoever.”The Saints, who didn’t have a first-round pick, selected Erik McCoy 48th overall. He played the first several series of the game.INJURIESSaints reserve offensive tackle Ulrick John went down with an apparent lower left leg injury. He was able to walk on his own, but left the field after being examined by team medical staff.UP NEXTVikings: host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Julian Love Jersey , Aug. 18.Saints: visit Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Aug. 18. GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Whether it was earlier in his career at New Orleans or the past few seasons in Seattle, two things were common for tight end Jimmy Graham: production and victories.Both are in short supply in his first season with the Green Bay Packers. Graham enters Sunday’s game at Chicago with only two touchdown catches and the Packers with a 5-7-1 record.“My numbers suck,” Graham said Friday. “That’s not what it’s about, you know? I just want to win games. If I have one catch for 2 yards and we win, I don’t care. Obviously, it’s not great when you’re not helping us win, and that’s what I see.”Graham, who has played the last two games with a brace to protect a broken thumb, has caught 46 passes for 549 yards. That’s second on the team in receptions, and while the production might wind up being better than it was last season for the Seahawks, when he caught 57 passes for 520 yards Darius Slayton Jersey , Graham also led all NFL tight ends with 10 touchdowns a year ago. With Seattle in 2016, Graham caught 65 passes for 923 yards. With the Saints from 2011 through 2014, he averaged 89 receptions, 1,099 yards and 11.5 touchdowns.While the Packers probably weren’t expecting the 32-year-old Graham to duplicate that kind of production, they no doubt were expecting more than a couple touchdowns when they signed him to a three-year, $30 million contract in March.For his part, Graham was expecting to join a championship contender. Instead, the Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy after a loss to Arizona on Dec. 2 and could be eliminated from the playoff race on Sunday.“I’ve never lost this much, so it’s obviously not something I’m used to,” Graham said. “I’ll never be OK with losing. I love to win. We’ve got to get back to that. Last week was a great step in the right direction. We’ve just got to do what we can control and try to keep winning.”For the Packers to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, they will have to contain Chicago’s ferocious defense. The Bears enter the game ranked third in points allowed and first in takeaways. Chicago linebacker Khalil Mack has 10 sacks and six forced fumbles. Along with catching the ball, Graham will be part of the plan to keep Mack away from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.“In this offseason T.J. Hockenson Jersey , the tight end does a lot of stuff,” Graham said. “I’ve got a lot of responsibilities — just not running routes and out here catching the ball like a receiver. That’s just how it is. I’m just trying to do my job and do what I’m told. . Obviously, we’re going to play a great defense that’s got a great rush. I’ll be a part of stopping that rush, and that’s just how it is.”Graham caught only two passes for 8 yards in the season-opening victory over Chicago. He caught eight passes in the loss to the Cardinals but had only two receptions for 13 yards last week against Atlanta. He had a chance for a 57-yard touchdown reception but couldn’t make the play. The brace, he admitted, has been limiting.“You don’t want to shatter your thumb,” Graham said. “That’s not great, but it is what it is.”Notes: RT Bryan Bulaga, who spent most of the first matchup against Chicago blocking Mack, is doubtful with a knee injury. That means Jason Spriggs is in line for his second consecutive start. … CB Bashaud Breeland (groin/personal reasons) and defensive tackle Kenny Clark (elbow) are questionable. Due to the death of a close friend, Breeland was away from the team on Wednesday and Thursday, according to interim coach Joe Philbin.

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