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NOTEBOOK: Morgan Follows EPL Soccer Match with 3-Catch Game

Entering Sunday's game in London, David Morgan had one career catch for 4 yards.

The Vikings tight end topped that on Minnesota's second play of the game, as he had a 7-yard reception.

Morgan finished with a career-high three catches for 28 yards, seemingly notable numbers for a player mostly known for his blocking prowess and strong play on special teams. 

"It was one of those things where things happened, and the ball came my way," Morgan said. "We got a win, and that's really what it comes down to."

"It was simple things where I happened to be there," Morgan added. "The line was protecting, everyone was getting open, guys were just doing their jobs." 

Morgan delivered on two of the Vikings touchdown drives.

He moved the chains on third-and-1 by taking a short pass and rumbling 14 yards, a play that set up a touchdown catch by Adam Thielen.

Morgan then had another 7-yard reception on second-and-6, with the grab eventually leading to a touchdown catch by Kyle Rudolph.

Morgan said he enjoyed the atmosphere and intensity at Twickenham Stadium, a rugby venue that was full of 74,237 fans to watch the Vikings-Browns matchup. 

"They were great; they really got into the game," Morgan said. "74,000 … that's a lot of people coming out to support in a country that doesn't have football like that.

"It was cool to see the love and respect for us," Morgan added.

Morgan got a taste of Europe's biggest sport Saturday when he attended the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City. Morgan attended the game with Thielen, Blake Bell, Latavius Murray, Eric Kendricks, Kai Forbath and Kevin McDermott.

The group got a pregame tour before settling in to watching Arsenal rally for a 2-1 victory.

"Watching Premier League soccer in London is about as good as it gets," Morgan said. "That's the top soccer over here, so it was cool. We got to go to walk-through, do a tour, walk out on the field. It was a great experience.

"And seeing them win was even better," Morgan said. 

Morgan said the match stoked memories of his own soccer-playing days in high school. 

"I loved it," Morgan said of his time on the pitch. "It definitely brought back some memories."

Morgan then made memories of his own with a big day Sunday as the Vikings improved to 6-2.

Mixing it up

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur has been at the helm for a full year now after taking over in Week 8 of the 2016 season.

With Shurmur able to install his offensive playbook during spring workouts and training camp, Minnesota has captured a 6-2 record heading into the bye week.

Rudolph said after Sunday's game that Shurmur has done a masterful job of keeping things simple for the Vikings offense and allowing them to be successful. 

"I think one of the things that Pat did when he took over halfway through last year was finding out what we do well, not only in the run game, but in the pass game as well," Rudolph said. "Finding ways to make it easy on us and difficult on defenses.

"So you can see it [Sunday against Cleveland] in the run game. We got to a lot of runs that we really liked," Rudolph added. "We may not have run for 20 yards [each carry], but we moved the chains there in the second half, we got going, extended drives, and that was big for us."

The Vikings rank 13th in the NFL with 358.5 yards per game. Shurmur has used a balanced attack as Minnesota has averaged 120 rushing yards per game (12th in the NFL) and 238.5 passing yards (14th in the NFL) per game.

Minnesota averaged 315.1 yards per game in 2016, which ranked 28th in the league.

 

'Jet' goes for a drive

Jerick McKinnon gave the Vikings the lead for good with his 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, and then celebrated in style.

After finding the end zone on a fly sweep, McKinnon sat down and put on an imaginary seat belt before shifting into gear with his right hand and driving away.

McKinnon's celebration might have looked a little odd to the English fans in attendance, as the driver's seat is on the right side of the car across the pond. 

McKinnon quipped after the game that he was using his own car that had been sent to England.

"They shipped my Lamborghini back from the States, so I was just running around the field in it," McKinnon said.

The Vikings trailed by a point before McKinnon's go-ahead score. He added the 2-point conversion that put Minnesota up by seven.

"We knew we had to bounce back," McKinnon said. "The first half wasn't pretty, and we just kept pounding, pounding, pounding."

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