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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Cook's 85-yard TD highlights Vikings' 20-9 win vs. Cards

Sat Aug 24 4:52pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Michael Crabtree, Dan Bailey, Kirk Cousins, Brett Hundley, Zane Gonzalez, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Kaare Vedvik, KeeSean Johnson, Mike Boone, Kyler Murray

In this Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Detroit. With rookie Alexander Mattison at the top of the candidate list and Ameer Abdullah returning after a late-season arrival last year, the Minnesota Vikings are looking for another running back to emerge as a reliable complement to Dalvin Cook. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez, File)


Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (97) pressures Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Arizona Cardinals place kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) kicks a 32-yard field goal in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, left, during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook celebrates with teammate CJ Ham (30) after scoring on an 85-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Arizona Cardinals defenders Tramaine Brock (20) and D.J. Swearinger (36) during an 85-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins runs off the field during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Dalvin Cook had an 85-yard touchdown run for Minnesota, the highlight of an otherwise rough first half by the first-team offense during a 20-9 victory by the Vikings over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

Cook scored early and Mike Boone crossed the goal line late, as the Vikings totaled 190 yards on 29 carries. The ground game was by far the best development of an afternoon when Kirk Cousins went just 3 for 13 for 35 yards while taking two sacks and Kaare Vedvik missed field goals from 43 and 54 yards.

Rookie Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in the draft to whom new coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals have turned to lead the reconstruction project, was relatively sharp while going 14 for 21 for 137 yards over the five possessions against a Vikings defense that was almost at full strength. Three of the drives ended with a successful field goal by Zane Gonzalez, a result that surely made the Vikings envious.

Vedvik, who has been given an extended evaluation as both a kicker and a punter, made both of his extra point attempts, at least, while incumbent Dan Bailey took the afternoon off. Matt Wile punted six times for an average of 47.3 yards, leaving no more clarity about the specialists than when the month began.

Cousins was under frequent pressure and had multiple passes knocked down at the line, including one deflection by rookie Zach Allen, who had a half-sack. Another Cardinals draft pick, KeeSean Johnson, stood out on the other side of the ball with seven receptions for 85 yards on seven targets.

One of the most discouraging aspects of the performance for Kingsbury and his staff were the 14 penalties for 111 yards, including two false starts called on backup quarterback Brett Hundley in a three-snap stretch late in the second quarter for apparently lifting his leg to signal a receiver to start his motion.

THE LONG RUN

The Cardinals were last in the league last season in rushing defense, allowing an average of nearly 155 yards per game that was bumped up by the Vikings here last Oct. 14 in a 27-17 victory fueled by a career-high 155 rushing yards from Latavius Murray.

Cook made the Cardinals look bad again, when he took a handoff to the left and veered right behind a key seal block by new right guard Josh Kline. The new zone blocking scheme directed by offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, senior offensive adviser Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Rick Dennison ought to be a good fit for Cook with his keen cutback ability. The touchdown run was the longest in a preseason game in Vikings history, topping a 76-yarder by Jordan Todman in 2012.

SITTING OUT

Cardinals: New WR Michael Crabtree, the 11th-year veteran who signed with the team earlier this week, did not suit up. Neither did CB Patrick Peterson, the eight-time Pro Bowl pick facing a six-game suspension to start the regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancers.

Vikings: DT Linval Joseph, who joined the team for practice this week for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery, was held out of the starting lineup, as was SS Harrison Smith. On offense, WR Adam Thielen rested, and RT Brian O'Neill stayed on the sideline again, after returning to the field this week following a three-week absence because of a right arm injury.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Play at Denver on Thursday night in their final exhibition game. The regular-season opener is Sept. 8 against Detroit.

Vikings: Play at Tennessee on Thursday night in their final exhibition game. The regular-season opener is Sept. 8 against Atlanta.

Player Notes
Giorgio Tavecchio Aug 24 5:20pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent kicker Blair Walsh on Saturday. The 29-year-old is a former All-Pro that was taken by Minnesota in the sixth round in 2012. He hit 84.2 percent of his kicks in five years with the Vikings and was last with Seattle in 2017, where he made 72.4 percent of his kicks. Current kicker Giorgio Tavecchio has struggled this preseason, so Walsh will push him for the job as Week 1 approaches. Atlanta's kicker position could yield nice fantasy points in 2019, but this is a situation to avoid in fantasy until we have more clarity.

From RotoBaller

Kirk Cousins Aug 24 5:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions Saturday in the third preseason game. He was sacked twice and was pressured often in the outing. Cousins had multiple passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. The stat line looks ugly, but it shouldn't serve as much of a deterrence for taking Cousins as a low-end QB1 or as a quality backup. The upside isn't where it once was, but he's a relatively safe option for your fantasy squad.

From RotoBaller

Lance Kendricks Aug 24 5:10pm ET

New England Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks has been suspended for the first game of the regular season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse. Kendricks wasn't in line to see much work for the Pats and could be cut now, so this doesn't move the fantasy needle at all. The 31-year-old caught 19 passes for 170 yards and one score over a full season with Green Bay last year. With Benjamin Watson also suspended to begin the season, Matt LaCosse is likely to be the primary pass-catcher in Week 1, but he'll be a deep DFS sleeper, at best.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Aug 24 5:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed twice for 88 yards and one touchdown in the third preseason game Saturday. On one of his rushes, he started left and cut back to the right, breaking tackles on his way to an 85-yard touchdown run. Cook is showing he's all the way back from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's a midrange RB1 that has the potential to be one of the best backs in the game.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Aug 24 4:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 14-for-21 for 137 yards in the third preseason game Saturday. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception, and he avoided taking a sack. He rushed four times for nine yards. The team has emphasized getting the ball out quickly with Murray, which hasn't led to many big gains. This dink-and-dunk approach limits his fantasy value in single-year formats. However, it could prove beneficial in the long run. Murray is an upside backup quarterback in fantasy, but he is a budding chip to have in dynasty formats.

From RotoBaller

KeeSean Johnson Aug 24 4:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Keesean Johnson caught all seven balls thrown to him in the third preseason game Saturday. He tallied 85 yards on the receptions for 12.1 yards per catch. He had five catches for 52 yards combined in the first two preseason games. This performance made a statement in his quest for the Cardinals' No. 3 receiver job. Johnson looks to be a value pick to target late in drafts, and his play could boost him into the WR4 category.

From RotoBaller

Jarrad Davis Aug 24 4:30pm ET

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia said that linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) and center Frank Ragnow (knee) avoided season-ending injuries after getting hurt in the preseason game on Friday night against the Bills. It's great news, but both players could still be questionable to suit up in the regular season opener against the Cardinals in two weeks. Davis emerged as a solid inside presence for Detroit's defense last year, while Ragnow is an essential cog in the team's offensive line. You can avoid Detroit's defense/special teams unit in fantasy, though.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Aug 24 3:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (foot) got treatment for his mid-foot sprain on Saturday, but head coach Ron Rivera thinks Newton will be on the field "pretty soon." The Panthers are hopeful that Newton will be ready for Week 1 against the Rams, where Newton would be a QB1 option. Rivera added that he's "cautiously optimistic" that Newton will be practicing soon. "There really isn't any timetable, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure it's right and ready to roll,'' Rivera said. Kyle Allen, Will Grier and Taylor Heinicke are all splitting backup repetitions behind Newton, so it's anyone's guess who would start the regular season opener if Newton isn't ready. Allen has seen the first reps behind Newton most of the last two weeks but hasn't looked good. Newton's fantasy stock was already on the decline due to questions about his surgically-repaired right shoulder, so most owners probably aren't taking him as a QB1 now.

From RotoBaller

David Johnson Aug 24 3:50pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson had nine carries for 34 yards and also caught both of his targets for seven yards in the passing game in Saturday's preseason game against the Vikings. Johnson should be able to bounce back in head coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray leading the charge. The 27-year-old back is one of the more versatile runners in the game and is a top-five fantasy running back in 2019. The only question is whether Arizona's offensive line can improve enough to give him space to run.

From RotoBaller

Matt Prater Aug 24 3:40pm ET

Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater went 2-for-2, including a 61-yard field goal, in the Lions 24-20 loss in Week 3 of the preseason against the Bills. The veteran kicker has been a consistent top-10 fantasy kicker throughout his career and shows no signs of slowing down. His ability to hit from 61 yards is an excellent sign, making him worth a draft pick in nearly all fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Robert Griffin III Aug 24 3:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III (thumb) is on scheduled to be ready for Week 1, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Griffin injured his right thumb early in training camp and hasn't played in any preseason games. As long as Lamar Jackson stays healthy, which is a big if considering his propensity to scramble, RG3 will be holding the clipboard on game day. He'll only have fantasy intrigue in two-QB leagues if Jackson goes down with an injury.

From RotoBaller

Ed Dickson Aug 24 3:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that tight end Ed Dickson (knee) is "still aways away" from returning. The 32-year-old veteran won't be ready for Week 1 and wouldn't even be a fantasy target if he was. When healthy, Dickson will compete for playing time with Will Dissly and Nick Vannett. Dickson had only 12 receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games played in his first year with Seattle in 2018. He's gone over 500 yards receiving just once in his career, and that was back in 2011 with Baltimore.

From RotoBaller

Marvin Jones Aug 24 3:20pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones (undisclosed) was able to play every snap with the first-string offense in the Lions third preseason matchup against the Bills. Jones was able to catch one ball on three targets for seven yards. This is a good sign, considering he was held out of last week's preseason matchup with what seemingly was the same injury. Jones should be in store for a productive season if he can remain healthy and is a WR2/3 option in nearly all formats.

From RotoBaller

Dexter Williams Aug 24 3:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Tra Carson is ahead of rookie Dexter Williams on the depth chart because of his work in pass protection, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. Williams will have a chance to climb the depth chart as the season wears on, but to begin he's behind Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Carson. He's strictly one to stash in dynasty/keeper leagues for now.

From RotoBaller

Bruce Arians Aug 24 2:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was scrambling for his life most of the night in the preseason game against the Browns on Friday, but he managed to continue building chemistry with wide receiver Chris Godwin, hooking up with him four times for 52 yards. Winston finished 9-for-19 for 88 yards and a 60.9 passer rating. He scrambled well and didn't make bad decisions or risky throws, which is what he needs to cut out of his game in a contract year. Winston has all the things in place to have his best season to date in head coach Bruce Arians' offense, making him a low-end QB1/high-end backup for fantasy owners. Godwin should see heavy targets as well, making him a popular breakout candidate in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Blaine Gabbert Aug 24 2:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (shoulder) suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the preseason game on Friday night against the Browns, according to head coach Bruce Arians. It's unknown if Gabbert will need surgery. The quarterback was 4-for-5 for 33 yards before leaving the game. Ryan Griffin stepped in for Gabbert and will likely be Jameis Winston's backup as we head into the regular season. Rookie quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

From RotoBaller

Jarrad Davis Aug 24 2:10pm ET

Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of Friday's preseason game against the Bills. He was carried off the field by trainers and carted to the locker room. He'll undergo an MRI exam on Saturday. Center Frank Ragnow (leg) was also taken to the locker room in the second quarter after suffering a right leg injury. Davis, 24, would be a big loss for Detroit's interior defense, as he's had over 90 tackles each of his first two seasons, including six sacks in 16 games in 2018. Ragnow's injury could make life more difficult for the Lions offensive line heading into the regular season.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Aug 24 2:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is possibly in the best situation of his career heading into the 2019 regular season. With an improved offensive line, a brand new pass-catching corps which includes Antonio Brown, and a first-round rookie running back to hand the ball off to, Carr has the recipe to break out this season. The 28-year-old is also making strides in his second year under head coach Jon Gruden and his system. He's looked much more comfortable in year two, and has shown more assertiveness in his throws with the playmakers around him who can help aid his fantasy ceiling. Carr is a solid late-round QB2 to target in two-quarterback leagues and may find value in certain matchups in single-quarterback leagues throughout the season.

From RotoBaller

Jack Doyle Aug 24 1:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (hip) spent the offseason recovering from a hip injury that cut his 2018 season short. He's played with the starters sparingly thus far, as he's registered just 13 snaps, and those may be the last preseason snaps that we see of him. He has looked good when he was out there, and his focus is now on maintaining his health for the regular season. Currently going in the 13th round, Doyle remains a sneaky option as a backup tight end to give you good production throughout the year.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Renfrow Aug 24 1:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is poised for an impactful rookie season with the Silver and Black in 2019. As the starting slot receiver, Renfrow will provide another set of reliable hands for short yardage passes while the defense focuses their attention primarily on Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. The Clemson product was renowned for his catching prowess at the college level and has carried it over to the NFL so far through his first preseason. Quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jon Gruden have both praised Renfrow for his sneaky ability to get open and haul in anything thrown his way. Until we see how significant his role will actually be in this offense he remains a dynasty stash, but could find value in PPR redraft leagues as the season progresses.

From RotoBaller