When Mack Brown arrived in Washington as an undrafted rookie in 2015, he found an immediate supporter in Kirk Cousins, who had just become the Redskins’ starting quarterback.
Cousins took the running back under his wing and provided valuable advice.
Now the two have been reunited in Minnesota. Brown has been with them since being claimed on waivers last October from Washington, and Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million free-agent contract in March.
“I texted him like two days before he signed, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to come to Minnesota,’ and I was so excited when he did,” Brown said. “Me and Kirk are pretty close. When I came in as a rookie, he took me under the ropes and told me what I had to do to make the team.
“He’s a great leader, a great quarterback, so I’m thankful that he came here.”
A reserve at Florida, Brown signed with Houston after going undrafted in 2015. After being cut in June, he joined the Redskins in July, a virtual unknown.
“Kirk just told me every day just to be consistent and keep your confidence,” Brown said. “He said Coach was going to yell at you and you’ve got to make sure you keep your composure for the next play and make sure every day to just put up good film out there.”
Brown spent portions of 2015 on Washington’s practice squad. He showed potential during the 2016 preseason, leading the NFL in rushing for exhibition games with 227 yards, including 149 in the finale against Tampa Bay.
But Brown’s top 2016 moment came in a Week 16 game against Chicago, when carried eight times for 82 yards, including a 61-yard run for his only NFL touchdown.
It was mostly back to the bench, though, in 2017. Before being waived, Brown played in just three games for Washington.
“I have always felt that Mack Brown is a very talented running back with great athleticism,” Cousins said. “In Washington, he did not get to play as much as maybe he or I would have liked, but when he did come in, usually explosive things would happen.”
Brown played in just one game for Minnesota last season, returning a kickoff 17 yards in Week 14 at Carolina. But the Vikings saw enough in practice to re-sign him.
The Vikings are currently set with at running back with Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, but Brown is battling undrafted rookies Mike Boone and Roc Thomas for the third spot.
“I like Mack,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. “The No. 1 thing you notice about Mack is the way he runs the ball with violence. When you are vying for a spot, I think that is huge. … He has been hitting the hole with explosiveness, he has been catching the football. We are pleased with his progress.”
Brown said it was “pretty tough” joining the Vikings midway through last season and learning the playbook on the fly. He had no issues with being inactive for all but one game.
Now, though, he is ready to show what he can do.
“I’m an all-around back and I’m still developing,” he said. “But I can catch, I can run. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get my chance in the preseason.”
Brown’s Vikings preseason debut will be Aug. 11 at Denver.
“He will have another chance in this preseason to show what he can do, and the tools are there to be a very good back in this league,” Cousins said.
Source: Twin Cities | Chris Tomasson | August 3, 2018