If last year is any indication, new Vikings receiver Josh Doctson could be of use to former Washington Redskins teammate Kirk Cousins as soon as Sunday’s season opener against the Falcons.
“It can be done,” Cousins, the Vikings quarterback, said Wednesday, two days after the Vikings signed Doctson.
“Aldrick Robinson came in [before Week 3 last year] and contributed right away.”
Robinson was signed last September for his speed and past chemistry with Cousins in Washington. Six days later, he caught one pass for 9 yards in the Week 3 loss to Buffalo. Four days after that, he caught two touchdowns — one more than Laquon Treadwell snagged in his entire Vikings career — in prime time on the road against the Rams.
Doctson comes to Minnesota as a taller, more well-rounded receiver with first-round pedigree. The Vikings wanted to draft him in 2016, but Washington selected him one spot before the Vikings settled for Treadwell.
“I thought I was going to be a Viking coming out,” Doctson said Wednesday. “So being in this building feels good.”
The Vikings didn’t consult Cousins before signing Doctson. But Cousins did go to offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to vouch for Doctson’s abilities and work ethic.
One of those abilities is a vertical leap that’s paired nicely with a 6-3 frame. A torn Achilles’ tendon wiped out all but two games of his rookie season, but he caught 35 passes for 502 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, his only full season with Cousins.
“One of his lead traits was his vertical jump, his ability to catch the ball at a high point in the air,” Cousins said. “But he was a fully developed receiver, too. I don’t feel like he was a one-trick pony.”
Doctson said the Vikings’ new scheme already feels familiar.
“That’s probably the most pleasant thing,” he said. “It’s been easy for me so far. A lot of the same concepts. Familiar routes. Just kind of different verbiage. So, it’s been kind of easy.”
Diggs misses practice
Receiver Stefon Diggs was the only player not in uniform for Wednesday’s practice, sitting out because of a hamstring injury.
Right tackle Brian O’Neill, who missed the entire preseason because of an elbow injury, and cornerback Mike Hughes, who was taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list just last week, practiced.
Asked if he envisioned O’Neill playing this week, Zimmer said yes. He also said Hughes, recovering from knee surgery, was close to playing.
A make-or-break year?
A lot of people are saying it’s a “make-or-break season” for Cousins. Diggs says he isn’t one of them.
“He has showed you he can deliver the ball,” Diggs said. “He can play well. He has a great attitude. He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy to be around in the locker room. … So as far as leadership and me having him as a teammate, I love him. I think he does everything he can. I’m not saying make-or-break season, because the quarterback position is hard.”
Britton Colquitt’s phone rang somewhere along Sunday’s 175-mile journey on I-90 from Cleveland to Buffalo.
The nine-year veteran punter had been released by the Browns the day before. “And Buffalo was my only option,” he said. “I was driving there from Cleveland.”
The voice on the other end of the phone was his agent. He said, “You might want to pull over.”
Said Colquitt: “I pulled over.”
The 34-year-old was part of the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50. He’s handled double duties as punter and holder throughout his career.
“[Holding is] part of the deal, and I’ve really enjoyed it because for me there’s not the pressure there that there is in punting,” he said. “I kind of get out there when I’m holding and look around and say, ‘This is kind of cool.’”