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3 Observations: Cousins Crisp in Return for 1st Vikings-49ers Practice 

EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was back in action Wednesday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and looked crisp while leading Minnesota's first unit against San Francisco's first-team defense.

The squads held their first day of two joint practices before the Vikings will host the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium in the second preseason game for both teams. Kickoff for that contest is 6 p.m. (CT).

The Vikings offense and 49ers defense worked on one field, and the Vikings defense and 49ers offense worked on another for much of the session.

Cousins left the team's facility last Thursday and tested positive for COVID-19. He quarantined for a five-day period before returning to TCO Performance Center Tuesday.

A couple of third downs in team periods presented the best opportunities for Cousins to show he was still as locked in as he had been before the time away.

Facing a third-and-6, Cousins ripped a pass down the middle of the field to Adam Thielen for a conversion. The QB was so hyped he screamed, "You like that? You (modifier) like that?"

Later on, in the 2-minute situational drill, Cousins delivered a pass to Justin Jefferson on third-and-4, and the third-year receiver shook free from contact by Deommodore Lenoir before zipping down the right sideline. The play gained 34 yards and moved the ball to the San Francisco 30 with 1:02 remaining.

The drill, which began at the 30 with 1:30 on the clock and the Vikings offense down 21-20, ended with a 46-yard field goal by Greg Joseph after a pair of short runs by Dalvin Cook ran out the clock.

Kellen Mond was offered the same conditions in the 2-minute drill and also led the Vikings offense to a winning field goal.

Mond rallied on the possession that started auspiciously. He smartly threw the ball out of bounds on first down when everything was covered. He then targeted Kene Nwangwu on a screen, but officials flagged Ihmir Smith-Marsette for offensive pass interference.

On second-and-20, Mond dropped a throw in the bucket to Smith-Marsette along the sideline, and the second-year receiver made a nice catch through contact for a gain of 16. Mond connected with Bisi Johnson for a gain of 26 on third-and-4 before another catch by Smith-Marsette gained 12 and moved the ball to the San Francisco 26 with 30 seconds remaining.

View photos of players during a 2022 Vikings Training Camp joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers on August 17 at the TCO Performance Center.

A 5-yard penalty on the Niners moved the ball to the 21, and the Vikings ran more time off before Mond kneeled at the left hash mark of the 24. Joseph drilled the 42-yarder.

Joseph also attempted six more kicks after the situational period. He was good from 33 and 41 before missing from 45 and 48. Joseph responded to his first consecutive misses during team periods this camp with makes from 50 and 44.

Vikings guard/center Chris Reed, receiver Dan Chisena and defensive lineman Jullian Taylor did not participate.

Receiver Blake Proehl and linebacker Ryan Connelly remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

Here are three observations from Wednesday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Mundt, Jefferson & Wilson catch TDs in red zone; Nickerson gets a pick

The Vikings offense and 49ers defense preceded the 2-minute drill with some work in the red zone.

Cousins connected with Johnny Mundt, who grew up in a walnut-farming family about 100 miles east of San Francisco, for a catch-and-run touchdown and delivered a 3-yard strike to Jefferson for another score. Mundt, who attended Niners games during his youth, had a nice block of Nick Bosa in an earlier drill.

Sean Mannion made the most of a first-and-goal rep from the 3-yard line with a throw to Albert Wilson in the back left corner of the end zone. Wilson, who caught both of Minnesota's touchdowns in its preseason opener, showed some nice "toe drag swag" on the play.

Parry Nickerson delivered the best red zone play for the Vikings defense. The veteran corner made a diving interception of Brock Purdy near the goal line to stop a pass intended for Ray-Ray McCloud III.

2. Determination tests

Life as a gunner — the player at the end of the line on the punt coverage team — takes a special type of determination.

A drill Wednesday proved it multiple times.

Vikings gunners lined up and faced double teams by 49ers players.

Rookie Andrew Booth, Jr., showed a physicality in fighting through the double team.

Receivers Myron Mitchell and Jalen Nailor utilized their quickness for releases at the line of scrimmage.

Veteran Nate Hairston got mauled to the point of a holding penalty, but he didn't give up. Hairston's rep against Ken Crawley and Jordan Mason got a little chippy by the end but simmered down.

3. Ingram in with first-team offense

Ed Ingram joined Minnesota's first-team offensive line on Wednesday after debuting as a reserve in Las Vegas.

Minnesota kept the remaining four of the offensive line the same, lining up LT Christian Darrisaw, LG Ezra Cleveland, C Garrett Bradbury and RT Brian O'Neill with Ingram.

Jesse Davis, who started at right guard for the Vikings Sunday against the Raiders, lined up at left guard with the second unit, joining LT Olisaemeka Udoh, C Austin Schlottmann, RG Kyle Hinton and RT Blake Brandel.

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