MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings travel to Miami to face the Dolphins on Sunday in a game you can see on Fox 9, and it appears the Vikings are in much better shape on the health front.
The Vikings had every player accounted for at Wednesday’s practice at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. Jailen Nailor (hamstring) was a full participant, while Akayleb Evans (concussion), Alexander Mattison (shoulder) and Za’Darius Smith (knee) were all limited participants.
The Dolphins will be down to their No. 3 quarterback on Sunday. Tua Tagovailoa is still in the process of clearing concussion protocols, and will not be ready to return by Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater, the back-up to Tagovailoa and a former Vikings’ quarterback, also did not practice on Wednesday due to being in the concussion protocol.
That means the Dolphins are likely to start rookie Skylar Thompson, a seventh-round pick, on Sunday against the Vikings. Filling in last week, Thompson went 19-of-33 for 166 yards, no touchdowns and one interception last week in a 40-17 loss to the New York Jets.
"I just look at this team as regardless of who’s playing quarterback, you’ve got to play with a great plan to try to limit the explosive plays while also being great against the run because they’re going to have a great scheme to be able to take advantage of your alignments and we’ve got to fly around, we’ve got to play good assignment football, guys really working together in both the run and pass game," Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said. "No matter who’s playing quarterback, I think we’ve got to have a great week of prep because it’s going to be a real challenge for our defense."
KIRK COUSINS WANTS TO BE MORE OF A RUNNING THREAT
In five starts for the Vikings this year, Kirk Cousins is completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,327 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. In Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears, he led the Vikings on a 17-play, 75-yard, seven-minute drive where he used his legs on at least two crucial plays.
He scrambled on a 3rd-and-5 for a first down, one of five third down conversions on the drive. He also gave the Vikings the lead on a 1-yard sneak with 2:26 to play, giving credit to his offensive line for the push into the end zone.
He was asked Wednesday if he thinks his mobility is underrated.
"No. I think I’m a little more capable to run than I give myself credit for or maybe than I tap into. So, I’ve always gone back and said, "How can I be more of a runner?" But, honestly, it’s a razor’s edge because you start to be that guy – are you staying healthy? Are you missing open people? Is Justin Jefferson not getting the ball anymore because you’re running? As long as you’re moving the football and being effective, I don’t think you need to go hunt up those opportunities," Cousins said. But certainly, when they present themselves, guys are covered, it’s the right coverage to do it against, certainly you want to instinctively be ready to go take off and make a play. So, it’s an area of my game that I’d love to tap into a little more, but I’ve been saying that for a few years now and ultimately, you just got to play the way you know how to play."