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Winning in Utah won’t to be easy, where the Jazz ha

in F r e i s t i l 18.09.2018 08:26
von douhua2233 • 88 Beiträge

Kirk Cousins is predictably the top priority on Minnesota’s offseason shopping list.

The free agent quarterback is on the verge of a big payday at age 29 Marcus Cannon Jersey , his first time on the open market.

Cousins will meet Wednesday with the Vikings once the new league year begins, his agent Mike McCartney said Tuesday. ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources, Cousins will sign a fully guaranteed, three-year $84 million contract with the Vikings, but McCartney said no deal was in place and no decision has been made yet.

”We’ve only agreed to visit Minnesota first,” McCartney said.

The Vikings are banking on this being his last trip, too.

With contracts expiring for Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, plenty of space under the salary cap and coming off an appearance in the NFC championship game, the Vikings have long presented the most desirable destination for Cousins.

Their defense, until faltering over the last five quarters of the team’s run in the playoffs, is stacked with stars and directed by one of the league’s long-time experts in coach Mike Zimmer. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have formed a dangerous young duo of wide receivers, combining for 2 Alan Page Jersey ,125 yards during the regular season. Dalvin Cook, whose rookie year was cut short by a torn ACL, is expected back at full strength for offseason workouts.

Minnesota has a sparkling stadium, the site of Super Bowl 52, and the organization just moved into new state-of-the-art suburban headquarters with top-of-the-line practice fields and training facilities just last week.

”I haven’t had the chance to pick where I’m going to play since 2007 when I chose to go to Michigan State, so I’m looking forward to that opportunity,” Cousins said in Minnesota the week of the Super Bowl during an appearance on SiriusXM satellite radio. ”I think it’s a pretty short checklist. At the end of the day, I want to win.”

Drafted in the fourth round by Washington in 2012, the same year the Redskins took Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick, Cousins has topped 4,000 passing yards in each of the last three seasons. As a full-time NFL starter, he has completed 67 percent of his throws for 81 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and a 97.5 passer rating.

Unable to agree on a long-term deal with the club, Cousins signed franchise tag tenders each of the last two years to make market-rate money (about $20 million in 2016 and $24 million in 2017) and push out his first experience with free agency. Once Washington agreed to acquire Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs P. J. Williams Jersey , Cousins became one of the most valuable quarterbacks ever available on the open market – a starting QB in his prime.

Though Cousins has never won a postseason game as a pro, the combination of his age, durability and productivity is unparalleled in comparison to the caliber of usual free agents at the sport’s most critical position. Last year, the Vikings waited until April 3 to sign Keenum for $2 million.

If the Cousins contract is indeed finalized, he’ll be the eighth quarterback to start a season opener for the Vikings in the last nine years. Bridgewater’s devastating knee injury right before the 2016 season wrecked his quest to become the long-term leader of the offense and face of the franchise. The Vikings have otherwise been finding stopgap solutions since moving on from 2011 first-round draft pick Christian Ponder.

Bradford, the emergency replacement for Bridgewater, produced a career-best performance to start 2017 before redeveloping his own knee trouble. In stepped Keenum, whose breakout year led the Vikings to a 13-3 record and Zimmer’s first win in the playoffs.

Bradford and Bridgewater presented obvious health risks, and Zimmer always came across as skeptical of Keenum’s ability to keep up his success. With a new offensive coordinator in John DeFillipo, the quarterbacks coach for Super Bowl champion Philadelphia, the Vikings can reset their scheme to the preferences and strengths of Cousins.

If negotiations hit a snag, there would be no clear backup plan in place for the Vikings. Keenum is bound for the Denver Broncos. Bradford is close to a deal with the Arizona Cardinals and Bridgewater was being targeted by the New York Jets.




Oklahoma City was built this offseason around three All-Stars with the hopes of contending for the Western Conference crown.

The Utah Jazz started the year 18-26 without center Rudy Gobert. But Gobert returned and the Jazz rolled off 11 straight wins into Valentine’s Day with the help of a surprise rookie of the year contender.

One more win and the Jazz will reach the second round for the second straight year. They’ll send the Thunder home with a second straight first-round exit — despite Oklahoma City’s overhauled, star-studded roster.

After losing the first game on the road, Utah won decisively in each of the past three games Nick Easton Jersey , including a 17-point victory in Game 4 — a game the Thunder called a must-win in Salt Lake City.

“It’s the playoffs, it’s gonna be war,” Utah point guard Ricky Rubio, who had a triple-double in Game 3, told the Salt Lake Tribune after Utah’s 113-96 victory in Game 4. “We know that it’s gonna be another war next game. We just have to be tough but at the same time, mentally ready for that.”

Game 5 is set for 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, who averaged 20 points per game during the regular season, has averaged 27.6 points during the past three games — taking his play to another level to lead a balanced Jazz attack that has five players averaging in double figures. Mitchell, who was the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft, has scored 110 points through the first four games, the most by a rookie in his first four games since Michael Jordan’s 117 in 1985, according to nba.com.

“To be honest, a lot of this is surreal. I’m just taking it game-by-game and not really getting caught up in the big picture,” Mitchell told the Salt Lake City Tribune. “Just focusing on game-by-game. My teammates have helped me out a lot as far as that goes. But we’re playing together.”

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook picked up four fouls before halftime in Game 4 and was fined $10 Tony Gonzalez Jersey ,000 for an altercation with Gobert late in the game. Luckily for the Thunder, he was not suspended following his altercation with the Utah center.

Westbrook’s foul trouble has hardly been the Thunder’s biggest issue.

Oklahoma City was inconsistent much of the year, but it has had to contend with shooting woes from offseason acquisition Carmelo Anthony, who has hit just 25 percent of his 3-pointers in the first four games of the playoffs.

“We gotta win, nothing to it,” Anthony said after the Game 4 loss. “We’ve just gotta win. We can sit here and say what we gotta do, or what we didn’t do or what we did do, but it comes down to having the will to win that game Wednesday and forcing a Game 6 back in Utah.”

Winning in Utah won’t to be easy, where the Jazz have won six straight. Oklahoma City has to get back to Salt Lake City first and stave off elimination. But Utah hasn’t lost three straight games since Gobert’s return to the lineup in mid-January.

“Every game’s been physical,” Gobert said to reporters. “We just got to watch the tape, see how much better we can get and get ready to play basketball.”

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