EAGAN, Minn. — It's officially a game week, as the Vikings will face the Saints in New Orleans on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Minnesota hit the practice fields Monday, a day after an off day, and practiced for two hours in full pads on a muggy summer afternoon.
Of the 87 players who do not have a Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) or Non-Football Injury (NFI) designation, tight end Kyle Rudolph, tackle Aviante Collins and defensive end Ade Aruna did not practice.
Here are three observations from Monday's session:
1. Bailey for the win
Dan Bailey was cool under pressure in a game-like situation Monday, as the kicker drilled a 53-yard field goal as time expired to give the offense a 23-20 victory.
Sean Mannion led the second-team offense 40 yards in just over 90 seconds, moving the ball to the 35-yard line with the clock ticking away. Bailey and the kicking unit, including long snapper Kevin McDermott, sprinted onto the field in time for the "mayday" kick.
Laquon Treadwell had a 14-yard reception on the drive, and Bisi Johnson moved the chains earlier in the drive with a 10-yard catch on third-and-7.
The score was tied at 20 after the Vikings first-team defense limited Kirk Cousins and the top offense to a field goal earlier in the situation, as Bailey hit a 33-yard field goal to tie the score.
Rookie tight end Irv Smith, Jr., had a 9-yard catch on the drive, which was thwarted thanks in part to a sack by safety Anthony Harris.
Bailey was a combined 4-for-6 on other kicks with the team Monday. He was 2-for-3 during a session with McDermott as the long snapper and 2-for-3 with Austin Cutting as the long snapper.
2. Perfect trifecta
Kirk Cousins was money in the red zone for the second week in a row.
After **tossing four scores** inside the 20-yard line on July 31, Cousins added three more in a 7-on-7 drill against the first-team defense Monday.
The first one went to Adam Thielen on an 11-yard connection, where the wide receiver toe-tapped his way to 6 points near the front left pylon. Cousins then followed up with a 7-yard score to Stefon Diggs on a slant route in the middle of the end zone.
Johnson then got in on the action, as he leapt to snag a lofted pass from Cousins with a cluster of defenders nearby.
3. Downs goes the distance
Devante Downs had the defensive play of the day on Monday.
The second-year linebacker came in off the edge, batted a Mannion pass into the air and corralled the fluttering pigskin.
A seventh-round pick in 2018, Downs caught it in stride and raced 25 yards or so for a touchdown.
Brandon Dillon made perhaps the catch of camp so far, even if it was just a 3-yard gain.
The rookie tight end leapt and used only his right hand to haul in a pass from Jake Browning in a team drill. The pass looked much like Odell Beckham, Jr.'s famous catch from 2014.
After the play, Cousins could be heard calling Dillon "The Marian Flash," a nod to **Dillon’s college**, an NAIA school of roughly 3,500 students.