Kirk Cousins didn't play long in the Vikings first preseason game, but he certainly made his time on the field count.
Cousins donned a game jersey for the first time since signing with Minnesota as a free agent in March, and he led the Vikings offense on an eight-play drive against the Broncos that ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.
"I'm thrilled to be a Minnesota Viking. Can't wait for this season," Cousins told former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber during the game broadcast. "To get out here and go through the game mechanics, substitute in and out of the huddle, work the play clock, work the crowd noise and move the football. It was a good first drive."
In a recent article, NFL.com's Nick Shook said that Cousins was "sharp as advertised" in his Vikings debut. Shook wrote:
Cousins was confident, precise and looked as comfortable as a new quarterback will ever look. Buoyed by two 20-plus-yard runs by Latavius Murray, Cousins was free to test things out with Stefon Diggs, and all three worked out. Cousins first found Diggs for six yards to open the drive and then made a key completion, connecting with Diggs on a perfectly placed pass over the shoulder of Bradley Roby for a 28-yard gain. It was the first throw that showed why Minnesota handed the keys and a fully guaranteed contract to Cousins.
Shook said that Cousins' final play of the night was an "equally impressive completion," calling the quarterback's pass to Diggs "a dart."
Coller highlights players who stood out at Denver
After the Vikings defeated the Broncos 42-28 to open up the 2018 preseason, Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN highlighted a number of players who stood out in the contest.
Coller topped his list with Cousins, rookie running back Roc Thomas, who made a splash in his pro debut, and Latavius Murray, who played only the first series but racked up 43 yards on just four carries.
Next, he pointed to Danny Isidora, who started at right guard in place of an injured Mike Remmers. Coller wrote:
With Mike Remmers injured, Isidora got the start and had the best performance of any of the Vikings offensive linemen. He's received a large number of first-team reps during practice due to injuries. The 2017 fifth-round pick from Miami will have an opportunity to win a job with Nick Easton out for the year.
Coller wrote that Brian O'Neill, who came in at tackle during the second quarter, didn't allow a pressure in pass protection, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. He said it's a "positive step, thought he did not face first-team defenders," for the second-round draft pick.
Coller said the following of second-year defensive end Tashawn Bower, who made the Vikings roster last season as an undrafted rookie:
Last year's Mr. Mankato had a strong first half picking up one sack and knocking down a screen pass from Paxton Lynch. This offseason Mike Zimmer has mentioned using more of a defensive line rotation this year and Bower will have a shot at working his way in at defensive end. However, special teams could play a role in how often he sees the field. While he did make one tackle, Bower was also a part of a [Denver punt] return for touchdown.
To see Coller's full rundown of players from Minnesota's first preseason game, click here.