Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Vikings’ COVID Outbreak Shows Jake Browning Among Quarterbacks

Gary Kubiak has been retired as Vikings offensive coordinator since the end of last season, but Jake Browning still remembers his words of wisdom.

After Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mondt and Nate Stanley were all ruled out of Saturday night’s practice because of COVID-19 protocol, Browning found himself as the team’s only available quarterback.

“Gary Kubiak used to say, ‘Nobody knows if you’re ready until you throw it in there,'” Browning said Monday, bringing up Kubiak’s name several times.

Browning undoubtedly made Kubiak, who was replaced as offensive coordinator by son Clint Kubiak, proud in Saturday night’s jump. He looked good, completing 26 out of 37 passes.

“He did really well,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “I thought the aggressive guys ran after him, trying their best to help him in a lot of situations. They took every play.”

Browning was back on practice on Monday, when he was able to give his arm some rest due to the run-in after Kes Cooks signed just before a workout. Cooks had a trialout in the morning with quarterback Jackson Erdman, former St. John’s star, and Cole McDonald, with the latter two not being signed. The Vikings claimed quarterback Danny Atling’s exemption from Seattle after practice ended, and a source said he was expected to practice Tuesday.

The Vikings initially thought Monday would be the first padded practice, but due to the interpretation of NFL rules, the first padded practice was moved to Tuesday.

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Browning was not as good Monday as Saturday, with linebacker Troy Dye and safety Harrison Smith stopping him. But his performance under lights in front of a good crowd at TCO Stadium could go a long way in getting him a backup job behind Cousins.

“He looked great,” said receiver Dede Westbrook. “The thing about this league is when someone goes down, you have to step up and be ready to play, and he lives up to all those expectations.”

Mond tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, and Cousins ​​and Stanley were sidelined for being high-risk close contacts. All three were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Sunday, and Zimmer said he did not know when any of them would return to practice. Cousins ​​and Stanley are expected to quarantine for at least five days.

“He told us something in the morning that we had a whole situation going on and basically said there’s a chance you’re going to be the only guy, so get ready,” said Browning, who Was out of Washington in 2019 and spent the last two years in the Vikings’ practice squad. “I guess my mindset on that is that I’ve been preparing like this for two years, so I didn’t really change anything.”

Browning said he’s never been the only quarterback in practice, but his arm doesn’t get tired.

“Someone in my position, as an untrained person involved in the practice squad, those reps are really valuable,” he said.

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Zimmer made a point on Saturday saying that Browning has been vaccinated, which could help his chances of being a backup. Browning didn’t want to say much on Monday about vaccinations, saying he didn’t want to be “in the middle” of anything.

“I just made a personal choice and now everyone knows that personal choice,” he said.

Sources said both Cooks and Atling have been fully vaccinated. Cooks was pulled out of northern Arizona in 2020, and had off-season stints with the New York Giants last year and Denver in May.

Cookes said he took off from his native California on Sunday, arrived at the team hotel around 11 a.m., said a shuttle bus was waiting to take him to their tryout at 6 a.m. on Monday, and he didn’t deny Did “a little sleep.”

“It felt like I was learning the whole time, like on the first day of school,” said Cooks, handed over Teddy Bridgewater’s old No. 5 jersey. “But overall we have a few people helping me, a lot of coaches and even players.”

It remains to be seen how long Cooks will be with the Vikings as three quarterbacks return to the COVID-19 list and Atling, a 2018 seventh-round draft pick, who has spent time with New England, Atlanta and Seattle. considered higher. As for Browning, he showed on Saturday that he can last for some time.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I felt like I was ready,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
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