Running back Dalvin Cook sprinted downfield after receiver Adam Thielen caught a deep go ball in stride over cornerback Kris Boyd. With some choice words, Cook joyously yelled at Thielen that nobody can stop him.
It was that kind of day for quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense during Wednesday's practice, the eighth of 10 organized team activity sessions (and the third open to reporters).
Cousins closed the 100-minute practice under a scorching sun at TCO Performance Center with four straight completions, the third of which probably should've ended the drill. Receiver Justin Jefferson caught a Cousins pass on a curl route and ran toward the sideline in opponent territory; cornerback Dylan Mabin slipped trying to change directions, freeing Jefferson to run for the would-be, go-ahead score.
Vikings coaches called the play dead before the goal line, so Cousins completed another pass on a screen to running back Ameer Abdullah before spiking the ball to set up a go-ahead field goal attempt that was never kicked. Coach Mike Zimmer then called the team to huddle around him, signaling the end of practice.
Here are some more observations from Vikings OTA No. 8.
— Tight end Tyler Conklin had back-to-back catches in the two-minute drill, capping an impressive day for him that earlier included a fingertip snag from Cousins on a corner route. "Irv and Conk, you see now with several years how they've kind of emerged as these veterans that are now really confident and know what's coming on the field," Cousins said after practice.
— The Vikings had 84 of 90 players on the field, missing defensive end Danielle Hunter, cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Mackensie Alexander, linebacker Chazz Surratt, running back Alexander Mattison and kicker Riley Patterson. First-round tackle Christian Darrisaw, who is coming off January groin surgery, suited up, but didn't participate in team drills.
— Cornerback Cameron Dantzler has yet to take a team rep in three OTAs open to reporters. He watched 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work again Wednesday with a wrap around his upper right leg. With new corner Bashaud Breeland nursing a surgically-repaired shoulder, and Gladney and Alexander absent, the first-team corners were Patrick Peterson, Harrison Hand and Kris Boyd. Peterson got his fingertips on a Cousins deep ball to Thielen early in team work. Another recent signing at corner, Tye Smith, worked with the second-team defense.
— If you read this weekly installment, you already knew Hand was getting work as a slot defender by shadowing Alexander in earlier practices. Well, Hand became the Vikings' first-team nickel corner on Wednesday with Alexander absent. Alexander is expected to be the team's starting slot corner, but Hand is learning some coveted versatility that could help him stick as a reserve.
— Zimmer typically spends a lot of time with defensive backs during practices, and Wednesday he got up close with the corners on numerous occasions. He pulled Breeland from the sideline and into some one-on-one technique time he was having with Peterson: "He's really showing me how to get my feet moving and stay on top of the receiver," Breeland said. "A coach like that that really walks around — he's a defensive-minded coach, he loves the corners. I've never really had that type of head coach so it's kind of new."
— Quarterback Jake Browning threw a couple touchdowns in red-zone drills, finding a wide-open tight end Zach Davidson and later connecting with second-year receiver K.J. Osborn in the back corner for another score. Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond continues to get little 11-on-11 work as he absorbs the playbook and competes with Browning and Nate Stanley for playing time. In six snaps, Mond completed two passes, including finding rookie receiver Blake Proehl on a dig route, handed off three times, and ran up the middle on an apparent botched play.
-The Vikings' primary kick returners were Abdullah, last year's starter, and rookies Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Kene Nwangwu. Osborn got the first crack at punt returner, and appeared OK after a scary collision with cornerback Parry Nickerson that caused Osborn's soft-shell helmet to fly off. Nickerson was slow to get up, but also walked off on his own.