EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have reached the homestretch of Organized Team Activity practices.
Minnesota held its eighth OTA practice Tuesday morning at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in helmets and shorts for a little less than two hours.
The session was Minnesota’s second of four practices this week, but the only one open to the media.
The Vikings will have two more practices throughout OTAs. The Vikings will then hold a mandatory minicamp from June 14-16.
Here are three observations from Tuesday’s session:
1. Thriving in the clutch
Kirk Cousins has been clutch, leading 11 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2015, for the third-most in the NFL.
The Vikings quarterback led another one in Wednesday’s practice, although it doesn’t count in the stats book.
According to the scoreboard above the practice fields, Cousins and the Vikings first-team offense trailed 9-7 with just over two minutes left in Wednesday’s situation.
The quarterback took the field at his own 35-yard line down two points with 1:17 remaining, and promptly moved the chains with completions to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, David Morgan and Laquon Treadwell.
The drive culminated with rookie kicker Daniel Carlson nailing a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to give the first-team offense a one-point lead.
Carlson made all five of his field goal tries Wednesday, and has not missed in 14 attempts in open media practices this spring.
2. Cook gets extended reps
Dalvin Cook is getting healthier.
The Vikings running back had been limited in practice throughout the first two weeks of OTAs, but took a step forward this week when he began participating in team drills.
Cook called the extended work “a milestone” in his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in Week 4 of the 2017 season against Detroit.
The 2017 second-round pick showed off his versatility by taking a handoff and running routes against the first-team defense, but he also stepped up in pass protection to block a blitzing Anthony Barr in the red zone.
3. Catch of the day
Much like last week, the Vikings spent a good amount of Tuesday’s session working in the red zone.
But there was a clear highlight this time around, and it came from a Minnesota native.
With the Vikings second-team offense inside the 5-yard line, quarterback Trevor Siemian lofted a fade to the right back corner of the end zone.
Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra, who hails from Spicer, leapt up and corralled the pass while toe-tapping the sideline to stay in bounds despite tight coverage from cornerback Marcus Sherels.
Zylstra’s score drew a rousing cheer from Minnesota’s offensive players.