ST. PAUL - The Vikings acquired another target for Kirk Cousins, one he knows well.
The quarterback played a role in Minnesota's decision to sign wide receiver Aldrick Robinson this week. The two were teammates in Washington from 2012-14 when Cousins was primarily the backup.
"I like him as a player," Cousins said Wednesday, Sept. 19. "He's a great teammate, will be great for our locker room, a veteran presence to have around; and hopefully he can contribute on the field for us."
Robinson, who turns 30 on Monday, Sept. 24, signed a one-year, $790,000 contract. To make room on the active roster, the Vikings waived second-year receiver Stacy Coley. He was claimed Wednesday, Sept. 19, by the New York Giants.
Robinson could compete for playing time with No. 3 receiver Laquon Treadwell, who dropped three passes in Sunday's 29-29 tie at Green Bay. For now, he's eager to be reunited with Cousins.
"We go way back," said Robinson, who had worked out for the Vikings on Sept. 7. "He's one of the main reasons why I'm here also. He tells all the guys that I was available, and I did my part."
In six NFL seasons, Robinson has just 69 receptions, but they've gone for an average of 17.3 yards. In 2012 and 2013, Robinson had 29 catches for Washington for an average of 20.8 yards per grab.
"He's got great speed," Cousins said. "He's got great movement skills."
Treadwell caught a 14-yard touchdown Sunday, and Cousins said it's important for him to put the drops behind him.
"I think you just get right back on the practice field, throw him the football, and in a lot of ways, act like nothing happened," the quarterback said. "... We know (Treadwell) can catch the ball. ... Let's just get back to work."
Vikings center Pat Elflein was a full participant in practice Wednesday, Sept. 19, clearing the way for a possible return Sunday, Sept. 23, against Buffalo at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Elflein, working his way back from shoulder and ankle surgeries, had returned to practice Sept. 2 after being out since the end of last season. He had been listed as limited in practices from then until Wednesday.
Brett Jones started at center for the first two games. However, Elflein is getting closer to perhaps again taking over the job he won last season as a rookie.
"We get snaps and we talk and he's sitting next to me in the meetings in the morning,'' Cousins said before Wednesday's practice. "We just keep trying to bring (Elflein) along."
Sitting out practice for the Vikings on Wednesday were running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring), defensive end Everson Griffen (knee), cornerback Marcus Sherels (ribs), tackle Rashod Hill (ankle) and tight end David Morgan (knee).
"I'm just taking it day by day,'' said Cook, who was injured in overtime in last Sunday's 29-29 tie at Green Bay. "I'll see how I feel at the end of the week, but it's going to be day by day.''
Run game needs work
Through two games, the Vikings rank 22nd in the NFL with an average of 92 rushing yards per game, and their average of 3.7 yards a carry ranks 26th.
Cook has 26 carries for 78 yards for a 3.0 average, and Latavius Murray has 15 carries for 61 yards (4.1). The longest run from scrimmage has been 15 yards.
"I think we can be better," Murray said. "I think there's been some good things. The explosive runs haven't been there."
The good things include keeping defenses honest enough to open up the passing game. Cousins is averaging 334.5 yards a game, most of which has gone to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
"The running game is doing just enough for those guys to get the maximum that they're getting, so we've just got to keep taking that step and the big runs that everybody is looking for are going to be there," Cook said.
In the meantime, Cook is helping out with receiving. He has nine catches for 107 yards, including a 24-yard gain when he lined up wide left against the Packers.
"When you've got a quarterback that trusts you as much as he trusts me, I love it," Cook said.
Cousins threw an interception late in regulation against the Packers that was nullified when linebacker Clay Matthews was called for roughing the passer. While that controversial call kept alive a drive that allowed the Vikings to tie the score, Cousins said he shouldn't have thrown the pass down the right sideline. "The outcome obviously protected me, but the process, the ball should have been further in toward the hash," he said. "It was a poor throw."
Former Vikings safety Keith Nord died of cancer on Wednesday. He was 61. A Minneapolis native who played at St. Cloud State, Nord was with the Vikings from 1979-85. While he primarily played on special teams, he started 13 games in 1985.
The Vikings terminated the contract of safety Jack Tocho, who had been placed on the practice squad/injury list on Sept. 5.