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There’s still so much more for Kirk Cousins to learn about his new coaches Cheap Kenny Young Jersey , teammates and playbook in Minnesota, a mere 2 months after the newest Vikings quarterback signed his record-setting contract to headline this year’s NFL free agency frenzy.

 

With every full-swing fist pump after a completed pass in these non-contact practices, there’s no question that the Vikings acquired a Pro Bowl-level enthusiasm along with Cousins and his skillset.

”I think as a seventh-year player, now you have a little freedom to just be yourself and to not take a back seat and to just be vocal within reason,” Cousins said.

”Be a leader, step up, and let your voice be heard. To their credit, the guys have received it well, and it’s been fun to just assimilate myself into the offense and into the program.”

As Cousins was finishing an interview session with the Minnesota media on Wednesday afternoon during a visit to a local middle school, his teammates called him over to complete their interaction with the kids and pose for one last photo.

He dutifully sprinted across the gym so as not to disappoint or, perhaps, take the razzing. He’s the face of this franchise, a responsibility he hasn’t shied from, but he’s also a carefully spoken and image-conscious player who can understand the importance of not overstepping his bounds.

”Anytime you’re new to an organization, you feel your way around a little bit. He’s doing that some, but he’s leading. He’s taking charge,” coach Mike Zimmer said amid the pre-teen cacophony in the gym at Friendly Hills Middle School just across the freeway from the team’s new headquarters. ”He has a lot on his plate right now.”

True to his nature as a relationship builder and a meticulous preparer http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-taron-johnson-jersey , Cousins hosted wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at his Atlanta-area offseason home shortly after he joined the team.

”We did get some stuff on the field, learning what he likes, learning how he likes certain routes run, because every quarterback is a little different,” Thielen said.

”But I think the biggest thing was just learning his personality, how fun he is to be around and his humor and things like that. It was really good to get a jump on that.”

Cousins has also, like it or not, dived right into the extraordinary expectations surrounding the Vikings following their advancement to the NFC championship game last season. The junior-high kids were yet another reminder of this.

”Most of the questions revolved around, `Will we go to the Super Bowl?’ and `Will we make the playoffs?’ I just throw it back at them saying, `Do you think we will?’ and they say, `Yes’. They’re confident, and that’s a good place to start.”

As the Vikings worked through their fifth of nine formal spring practices labeled by NFL parlance as organized team activities, outside linebacker Anthony Barr was back on the field with the team after an absence last week he confirmed was related to his contract status.

Now playing the final season of his rookie contract at a fully guaranteed salary of slightly more than $12.3 million, Barr said he hoped to have a new deal in place before the on-field workouts began. That didn’t happen, so he took out an insurance policy to protect his future earnings in case of injury in 2018.

The issue for Barr and his desire for longer-term security is the Vikings also have hefty paydays looming for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and defensive end Danielle Hunter, who are also playing this season on expiring contracts for a team that has plenty of expensive stars.

”My agent is doing a great job, and they’re having conversations Youth Josh Rosen Jersey ,” said Barr, who was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2014. ”I don’t know too many details on that. My focus is here with the team and getting better.”

Sounds a little like the quarterback, dealing with his challenge of taking over a championship-chasing team.

”Everything is new, so I’m just continuing to try to get to where the plays and the reads and the terminology are all instinctual without having to think,” Cousins said. ”That takes a long time, but every day you can take a step in that process.”

锟斤拷 Gerald Green was at a crossroads.

Released by Milwaukee in training camp, the career journeyman couldn’t find another NBA team that wanted him.

He contemplated playing internationally and in the G League, but no one had any use for the over-30 player with almost a decade of NBA experience.

“I was honestly contemplating retirement,” he told The Associated Press. “A lot of people don’t know that, but I was done.”

So he contacted his agent to put an expiration date on his basketball career.

“I was like: ‘Look man, when Jan. 1, 2018, hits, if I’m unsigned, I’m putting out a big statement on my Instagram letting everybody know, thank you for the awesome career over all these years but I’m done,'” he said. “‘I ain’t going to play no more.'”

Just four days shy of his self-imposed deadline James Daniels Jersey , Green received the call that would change everything: His hometown Houston Rockets wanted him.

“Basketball was the last thing on my mind until I got that call,” he said. “Then it’s kind of like … ‘Are you serious?'”

By then, the 32-year Green had already “mentally checked out” of basketball. He was spending his days doing work in real estate and teaming with rapper Trae Tha Truth to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The Rockets took a chance on Green, and now he could make it pay off.

Green’s years as an underdog – along with his length and athleticism – could be just what Houston needs Wednesday night when the Rockets try to even up the Western Conference finals after losing Game 1 to the Golden State Warriors.

He knew when he joined the Rockets it was a shot at redemption – on many levels.

He was traded to Houston as a 22-year-old in 2008 but released a little more than two weeks later after appearing in just one game.

When Green came to the Rockets the first time, he acknowledges he had the wrong attitude. The young man who’d had a modest upbringing on the South side of Houston had money after being drafted in the first round in 2005, and was coming off a memorable performance in the dunk contest at the 2008 All-Star Game where he blew out a candle atop a cupcake that was balanced on the back of the rim before throwing down a two-handed slam.

“It was right place at the wrong time,” he said of his mini-stint with the Rockets. “I just wasn’t focused. I still wanted to go out and enjoy my success of getting to the NBA instead of me trying to enjoy the work process of getting better.”

In the years since, he bounced around with six other NBA teams and spent two years playing in Russia and China. When he returned to Houston, he knew from the first day that his second stint was going to be special.

“As soon as I walked in the door I felt like everybody had their arms open to me like: ‘We need a hug. Come on, man. We’ve been waiting on you,'” he said mimicking a hug with his long muscular arms.

And the feeling was certainly mutual.

“To know him is to love him,” Chris Paul said. “He’s one of those people that if you don’t like Gerald Green, you’re telling me a lot about yourself.”

It was a new feeling for Green, who said he felt like some of his previous teammates wondered why he was on the team and never fully embraced him.

“I get judged a lot,” he said. “Maybe because of the way I talk, the way I look, I’m real quick to say a lot of stuff that maybe people don’t understand because that’s just me. I’m not the type of person that’s scripted … but on this team since Day 1 Justin Reid Jersey Texans , I could say something (crazy) and they ain’t never judged me for that.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni had known of the lanky forward with a knack for 3-pointers for years, but wasn’t sure what to expect when Houston signed him off the street.

He didn’t have to wait long. The day after he signed he scored 18 points, and in his fourth game and Houston’s first of the season without James Harden, who was nursing a hamstring injury, Green put on a show. He scored 27 points and made 7 of 10 3-pointers to help the Rockets to a win over Orlando. The next night he outdid himself, tying a career high with eight 3s and finishing with 29 points as Houston fell to Golden State.

Green, who played high school basketball in Houston, averaged more than 18 points in the seven games Harden was out.

He has continued to bring a spark off the bench, averaging 12.1 points in the regular season – his highest average since 2015. He credits his turnaround to the nurturing environment fostered by D’Antoni, who he calls a “confidence-giver.”

And despite his limited work, he’s become a fan favorite for his almost obsessive love for Houston.

Green arrives to almost every game in a jersey of one of Houston’s teams, and he has three tattoos that pay homage to the city. Running down the entire length of his left forearm is the word “Houston” in graffiti-style block letters. On the front of his left shoulder is ink replicating the sign for Interstate 45, a freeway that runs directly by where he was raised. The last one is a nod to the Houston Oilers, a baby blue oil derrick on the back of the same shoulder almost identical to the ones that once adorned their helmets.

But his representation of Houston doesn’t stop there. Each time he hits a 3-pointer, he contorts both of his hands into “H’s” and holds them high toward the crowd.

Says Harden: “He’s the most Houston person I.

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