What we learned from Saturday’s preseason games

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Seven preseason games are on the docket for Saturday. Up first, the Vikings host the Cardinals inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Here’s what we learned from the first game of Week 3:

Minnesota Vikings 20, Arizona Cardinals 9

1. Dalvin Cook had more yards on a single run than some teams have had in a game this preseason, and it was spectacular to witness. After sitting out the first two games as a precaution, the oft-injured Cook made his preseason debut at home against the Cards and absolutely torched the defense on his second (and last) carry of the game. Following a 3-yard run on the game’s first play, Cook came back out on the Vikings‘ second drive but had his second run — a standard 4-yard rush — negated by an offensive holding penalty. He would make the most of the re-do, securing a handoff from Cousins and following his blockers left before quickly cutting right and making three defenders miss en route to an explosive 85-yard touchdown run. After having his first two seasons compromised by injuries, Cook is clearly on a mission and opposing defenses better either respect the heat he’s bringing or just get out of the kitchen.

2. The quarterback duel featured a pair of guys looking to prove themselves but for entirely different reasons. Kirk Cousins, also known as “The $84-Million Man”, had a relatively pedestrian day in the office, completing just three of his 13 pass attempts for 35 yards and no TDs in a half of play. He was also the unlucky recipient of the first and second sacks of the preseason and finished with a 39.6 passer rating.

Kyler Murray, also known as the 2019 No. 1 overall pick, put together a solid albeit unremarkable outing against the Vikes’ first-team defense. Murray played all but the final two-and-a-half minutes of the first half and accumulated 137 yards on 14-of-21 completions and an 84.8 rating. He demonstrated good awareness in the pocket and avoided constant pressure with his speed but was yet again unable to score a TD and had a number of his passes batted down by the Vikes’ defensive line. He did position the team for three field goals, courtesy of kicker Zane Gonzalez.

3. Aside from the marquee names at QB, Cardinals backup Brett Hundley garnered some attention for a pair of calls he earned after coming on for Murray. Hundley was flagged for a false start twice in three plays while preparing to take the snap in the shotgun formation. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero shed some light on the rule that sparked a back-and-forth between coach Kliff Kingsbury and lead official Al Riveron. Keep an eye on this rule as the season progresses.

There have been many talks between Kingsbury and Al Riveron about Rule 7, Section 4: “A player who is in position to receive the snap in shotgun formation is permitted to shift his feet prior to the snap, but any quick and abrupt movement is a False Start.” Judgment call. https://t.co/BWOw94mA4H

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero)
August 24, 2019

— Jelani Scott

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