A “booyah” celebration got batted right back in Kirk Cousins’ direction. After hollering that phrase at his Minnesota Vikings teammates when connecting with receivers early in practice, his defensive teammates threw it back at him after they intercepted a couple of his passes later in Wednesday’s minicamp practice.

Cousins was sharp early, then not, as minicamp reached its midway point and the five-week respite before training camp was only a day away.

The Vikings’ $84 million quarterback dropped a perfect deep ball over rookie cornerback Mike Hughes and into the hands of Stefon Diggs for a gain of about 70 yards during 7-on-7 work. In full-team sessions, Cousins was the beneficiary of a diving catch from Kyle Rudolph with Ben Gedeon in tight coverage.

Then came the red zone situations. Cousins started it with a 10-yard touchdown to Diggs and, two plays later, hit Adam Thielen with a 5-yard touchdown with a quick decision (and release) to beat Xavier Rhodes.

“You just see him operate fast. He did a few things out there today that unless you knew he did, you would have no idea he did – in terms of change in the protection, in terms of using a unique cadence that helps us identify the defensive front, the defensive coverage, all those things [during] the blitz period,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said of Cousins. “The defense was bringing the heat pretty good today. He did some subtle things that tells you he’s really understanding the little intricacies of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

With things going well early in practice, Cousins let out a few “booyahs,” but turnabout was fair play when the veteran quarterback misfired later when practice returned to the red zone.

Safety Jayron Kearse undercut a pass intended for Diggs and intercepted that in the end zone. A couple plays later, Cousins tried for Rudolph and linebacker Anthony Barr intercepted it. “Booyah,” a defender yelled.

DeFilippo had different message: “Somebody stop the bleeding. Let’s go!” he pleaded to his offensive players after the second interception.

“Third downs in the red zone were the emphasis of that period, and they’re going to be a big emphasis for us all season,” Cousins said after practice. “Our backs are against the wall a little bit, but on the first one I just couldn’t get all the way through the throw, so the ball died on me. The second one I was testing things a little bit and trying to see what I could get away with, and I learned pretty quickly that I can’t get away with that throw. Some of the beauty of OTAs is that you can test and experiment, you can try things without the ramifications that you would have during the season. You just got to learn from them and use them and bank those reps so that come the season you’re making good decisions in those critical situations.”

While Cousins could talk logically and philosophically about the interceptions about a half hour after practice ended, he wasn’t happy about them.

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“I think right now I was pretty salty walking off the field. I’m really frustrated. I do not want to walk into the summer with a bad taste in my mouth about practice, so hopefully we can finish really strong tomorrow and be feeling good going in to the summer,” he said. “Even one bad decision in practice kind of bothers me all afternoon and I can be a bit of a grouch when I go home, so that one bothered me.”

He said he and Thielen had a “pity party” in the locker room following practice.

DeFilippo wants to see Cousins quickly move on from the mistakes.

“We’re going to go through rough stretches at some point in this season. There’s going to be an interception. There’s going to be a couple three-and-outs in a row. That’s real-life football,” he said. “I think it’s great that you saw him have a really good red zone period the first time down there and a not-so-hot red zone period the next time down there and then came back on the third-and-7 and made a nice completion. Short term memory is key for Kirk and all of our quarterbacks.”

PRACTICE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

  • DE Everson Griffen, C Pat Elflein, S Andrew Sendejo, DT Jayln Holmes, WR Stacy Coley, WR Jeff Badet, CB Trevon Mathis and DE Hercules Mata’afa didn’t participate in practice because of injuries.
  • A day after Danny Isidora worked with the first-team offense at left guard, Tom Compton was back in the starting rotation.
  • Terence Newman continued to work at safety alongside Harrison Smith in certain situations. Kearse and Anthony Harris also got turns there.
  • Spicer, Minn., native Brandon Zylstra made a great diving catch along the left sideline with Smith in tight coverage.
  • The defensive play of the day was S Jack Tocho bursting through the line on a blitz, knocking the ball in the air and LB Eric Wilson intercepting it. Tocho later added a pass defensed in his most noticeable practices of the offseason.
  • Barr, DE Danielle Hunter and LB Garrett Dooley were among the others to knock down passes, and Hunter added a touch sack a short time later (there is no tackling in these practices). Rookie defensive ends Ade Aruna and Jonathan Wynn combined for another sack.
  • Marcus Sherels and Hughes were the main punt and kickoff return men.
  • Laquon Treadwell continued his solid offseason with a 50-yard reception deep down the middle of the field.