Quarterbacks are natural team leaders, but in the case of Kirk Cousins he's only been with Minnesota about seven months. Still, Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph nominated Cousins before the Oct. 7 game in Philadelphia to lead the breakdown prior to pregame warmups, when the quarterback delivered a message about finishing strong.
On the flight home, Joseph told Cousins to be ready for a repeat. So before playing Arizona last Sunday, Cousins screamed at his teammates to encourage a similar effort and urge the defense to harass rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. The Vikings (3-2-1) won both of those games.
Though Cousins has said he considers himself reluctantly vocal in some of those situations, preferring to let his play do the talking, he's had plenty of experience with pep talks.
"In college, we did it some, and then in the locker room as well," Cousins said. "In high school, we did it a lot. It's not foreign to me. I'll put it that way."
The Vikings have posted the clips on their website, thus making a story out of their quarterback's recent rah-rah moments.
"He definitely has the fire," defensive end Stephen Weatherly said. "He has the passion. Sometimes guys have too much passion and their words get lost and they get jumbled over, but we know what they meant, and other times guys have the right words but not the right gusto. And he has a great balance of both."
The message is easier to express when you're third in the NFL in completion percentage and fifth in the league in passing yards.
"I loved it," linebacker Anthony Barr said. "At first, not knowing the guy, it kind of maybe comes off as fake or phony. But as you get to know him, that's really who he is, an intense guy, a competitor, a guy who likes to go out and compete at a high level and compete well for his team, and the message that he shares hits home."
An NFL executive laughed when asked in Atlanta on Friday if he could recall the last time hot dogs cost $2 at a Super Bowl.
"I will have to look back at that one," said Jon Barker, the NFL's vice president of event operations and production.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium's much-publicized food-and-beverage prices, including $2 for hot dogs, refillable soft drinks and popcorn, will remain in place for Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.
That may cause a reverse form of sticker shock at a generally high-priced event where game tickets can cost thousands of dollars.
"I visited the Minnesota Super Bowl last season, and I said, 'One thing is for certain: The temperatures in Atlanta will be higher, and the food prices will be lower,'" Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons owner Arthur Blank's group of businesses, said Friday during panel discussions at the stadium about Super Bowl preparations.
Stadium officials have said they stipulated in Atlanta's Super Bowl contract that concession prices would remain the same as at Falcons games and other stadium events.
Syndicated columnist Norman Chad, via Twitter, on Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal's third inning in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series: "Passed ball, catcher's interference, error. Is that a hat trick or fielding for the cycle?"
What team selected Yasmani Grandal in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft?
The Cincinnati Reds
Sports on 10/21/2018