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Vikings’ Kirk Cousins gets fired up in return from COVID break for joint practice with 49ers

He tested positive last Thursday and sat out Sunday’s preseason opener, a 26-20 loss at Las Vegas. He returned to the team facility on Tuesday, when the Vikings did not have a formal practice, and was back under center Wednesday.

jea 0001 Vikings 49ers practice
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was back on the field during a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins returned to practice Wednesday after having tested positive for COVID-19, and it did not take him long to make his presence known.

Early in a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers at the TCO Performance Center, Cousins completed a pass across the middle to Adam Thielen. He then barked out his catch phrase, “You like that!” while including an expletive. Many of the fans heard it, and some seemed surprised.

Cousins’ teammates weren’t surprised, though, that the quarterback did not miss a beat in his return. He tested positive last Thursday and sat out Sunday’s preseason opener, a 26-20 loss at Las Vegas. He returned to the team facility on Tuesday, when the Vikings did not have a formal practice, and was back under center Wednesday.

“Man, he looked great,” tackle Christian Darrisaw said.

“I felt like he played really sharp (with) really crisp play calls and good execution as far as having the bulk of the whole playbook in right now,” tight end Johnny Mundt said. “He’s executing at a very high level.”

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Kirk Cousins

Cousins threw short touchdown passes to Mundt and Justin Jefferson in a scrimmage that did not have tackling. He drove the Vikings downfield in a two-minute drill for a last-second Greg Joseph field goal. He did misfire on a few passes, including a short throw that was intercepted by 49ers safety George Odom.

Cousins, while unvaccinated last season, spent five days on the COVID-19 reserve list in training camp as a close contact and sat out a Week 17 game at Green Bay after testing positive. He was sent home from the TCO Performance Center last Thursday when he didn’t feel well, and the Vikings announced the next day he had tested positive.

“I was feeling a little lousy and tested and ended up going home and just needed the five days to recover and follow things from a distance,” Cousins said before Wednesday’s practice.

Cousins said two weeks ago that he “can’t afford to miss a rep, miss a day, miss a walkthrough” due to learning the system under new head coach Kevin O’Connell and new offensive coordinator Wes Phillips. While he was out, he missed a walkthrough and practice on Thursday, a walkthrough on Friday and then Sunday’s game. However, the Vikings rested eight healthy starters against the Raiders, and Cousins might not have played anyhow.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

“I was commenting to my wife (Julie) that if I was to miss five days and you had to pick which five, strategically we probably picked a good five,” Cousins said. “The Thursday practice would have been great to be a part of, but the Friday was lighter, Saturday was a travel day, Sunday would have been at most maybe a half-dozen plays, and then Monday was an off day. So it worked out pretty well from that standpoint.”

Phillips said it was important for Cousins to make it back for the joint practices with the 49ers on Wednesday and Thursday. The teams will meet in a preseason game at 6 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and it’s not yet known if Cousins will play.

“Obviously, every rep’s important,” Phillips said. “(Cousins) knows that, but to be able to get him back for these two practices with the Niners, where we’re playing a challenging front, a different scheme, (is) big for us.”

With Cousins out against the Raiders, Sean Mannion, who started, and Kellen Mond split time at quarterback. They are listed as co-backups on the depth chart, and they split second-team reps on Wednesday.

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While Mond had the better preseason opener, Mannion looked a bit sharper Wednesday. Mannion had a pinpoint throw down the left sideline to Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a long gain and later hit Albert Wilson for a short touchdown pass. Mond did look good in a two-minute drill, with several key completions before Joseph made a last-second field goal.

Wednesday’s practice featured rookie Ed Ingram getting the nod at first-team right guard over veteran Jesse Davis, who started against the Raiders. Ingram looked good in protecting Cousins, and afterward was asked about his quarterback’s boisterous moment after the pass completion to Thielen.

“I love it,” Ingram said. “When any of my teammates gets fired up, it makes me fired up just because we’re putting in all this hard work and to see the results is amazing.”

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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