Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn.—Anthony Barr hasn't changed his tune about wanting to play for the Vikings long term. "Absolutely," he said Tuesday. Still, it is uncertain if the 26-year-old linebacker, entering the final year of his contract, and the Vikings are close to a contract extension. "I'm just focusing on being here and getting better, so we'll let that figure itself out," Barr said.
EAGAN, Minn.—The Vikings have two Pro Bowl selections in the secondary. Could another one join the party? Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday that Trae Waynes is continuing to improve and there is a way he can become an "elite'' cornerback. The Vikings already have one in Xavier Rhodes and they have a top safety in Harrison Smith.
EAGAN, Minn.—Vikings rookie Roc Thomas kept a straight face when describing what he was attempting to do in Saturday's preseason opener. "I was trying to get my name out," he said. "That was the whole goal." Then Thomas laughed. "I'm kidding, man." Regardless, it worked. The undrafted rookie running back left a lasting impression in the Vikings' 42-28 exhibition victory over the Broncos, catching three passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns and rushing eight times for 29 yards.
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has one primary rule for this week's scrimmages against the Jacksonville Jaguars: No fighting. After the New York Jets and Washington Redskins getting into practice fights over the weekend in Richmond, Va., Zimmer wants to make sure nothing like that happens when the Vikings and Jaguars practice against each other Wednesday and Thursday in advance of Saturday's preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
DENVER — For those simply waiting for Dalvin Cook to take over as the Vikings' starting running back, Latavius Murray might have something to say about that. Yes, it remains most likely that Cook will settle in as the starter once he returns to game action following surgery last October for a torn left ACL. In the meantime, Murray is at least keeping it interesting.
DENVER — Kirk Cousins has six NFL seasons under his belt, 81 touchdown passes over the past three years and has a signed $84 million contract in his files. That doesn't matter. He still was nervous before making his Vikings debut. "Oh, yeah,'' the quarterback said after Minnesota's 42-28 win over Denver in the preseason opener Saturday night at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. "There's always nerves. Great players on the other side of the ball at all times. There's a very small margin for error. So there's always nerves. You got to channel them and handle them well.''
DENVER—Kirk Cousins wasn't perfect, but he was close. The NFL considers a perfect passer rating to be 158.3. Cousins' mark was 150.0 in his only series as the Vikings defeated Denver 42-28 in the preseason opener Saturday night, Aug. 11, at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. In his much-anticipated debut at quarterback, Cousins completed all four of his attempts for 42 yards and a touchdown. He threw a nifty 28-yard pass to Stefon Diggs down the right sideline and soon followed it with a 1-yard TD pass to Diggs for a 7-0 lead.
DENVER — Dalvin Cook's return is on hold. The Vikings running back went through a scripted on-field workout before the preseason opener against Denver but did not suit out for the game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Cook has not played in a game since suffering a torn left ACL on Oct. 1, 2017, against Detroit. He has taken part in each Minnesota training camp practice except the Aug. 4 night scrimmage. He said early in camp he was ahead of where he thought he would be in his recovery.
EAGAN, Minn. — Danielle Hunter doesn't drink, so there was no champagne flowing after he signed a five-year, $72 million contract extension in June. "I like ginger ale,'' Hunter said. "I had one, maybe two, maybe three." The celebrating long over, Hunter is ready to take the field in Minnesota's preseason opener Saturday at Denver. Hunter, 23, will make $1.9 million this season before the extension kicks in for 2019. The average salary of $14.4 million makes him the seventh-highest paid defensive end in the NFL in a 4-3 scheme.
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is eager to show off some new techniques in Saturday, Aug. 12's preseason opener at Denver. Then again, you could say they're old techniques. During Richardson's first two seasons with the New York Jets, in 2013 and 2014, Karl Dunbar was his defensive line coach. Dunbar, Minnesota's defensive line coach from 2006-11 and now with Pittsburgh, taught Richardson plenty. He had eight sacks in 2014 and was named to the Pro Bowl.