The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS–Jakeem Grant has been trying to prove to the Miami Dolphins that he can be more than just a return man.
He sure looked the part in the pre-season finale last night.
Grant caught four passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in the first half of the Dolphins’ 30-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
David Fales completed 12-of-20 passes for 193 yards and three scores, including a 65-yarder to Grant, a second-year receiver that coach Adam Gase has been trying to get more involved in the Dolphins’ offence.
“I’m a receiver before a returner,” Grant noted. “That’s what I’ve been harping on and I want to show everybody, even myself, that I can go out there and make big plays like Kenny [Stills], Jarvis [Landry], and DeVante [Parker].
“Whenever you put me in, you can trust me,” he stressed.
“I’m going to make that big play and there’s not going to be a slack off.”
Cayleb Jones had nine catches for 127 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota, which finished the pre-season at 2-2.
Taylor Heinicke threw a touchdown, but was underwhelming in his two quarters of play before he was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
Both teams rested almost all of their regular starters with the first game of the regular season just a week away.
That included Dolphins’ quarterback Jay Cutler, who came out of retirement earlier this month to replace the injured Ryan Tannehill.
Kenyan Drake ran for a touchdown while Fales also threw a six-yard TD to former University of Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray to help the Dolphins also finish 2-2 on the pre-season.
Gase moved Grant from slot receiver to outside this summer, hoping it would give him more opportunities.
He had plenty of them last night, catching a 28-yard pass early in the first quarter to get going, then drawing a pass interference near the end zone to set up Drake’s one-yard plunge.
In the second quarter, he got behind defensive backs Jayron Kearse and Sam Brown and hauled in a perfectly-thrown deep ball from Fales to put Miami up 14-0.
“He’s hard to cover out there,” Gase said.
“Usually when you put a smaller guy outside, you worry that he’s just going to get grabbed by the bigger corners and get held up,” he conceded.
“But what he does is he’s so shifty, he’s hard to get hands on and gets by you quick.”
Vikings’ defensive back Mackensie Alexander drew coach Mike Zimmer’s ire in the second quarter when he was penalized for taunting after breaking up a pass to Grant in the end zone.
The penalty gave Miami a first down and led to Gray’s TD catch.
For a second-year cornerback who has dealt with maturity issues, it wasn’t a good sign.
“I don’t think it was very good,” Zimmer said.
“We had a little discussion about it.”
Former University of Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner was working for Bite Squad, a local service that delivers restaurant food to homes and businesses in the Twin Cities, when the Vikings called him last week.
He entered in the third quarter to a nice ovation and went 14-for-19 for 129 yards.
“It’s something you dream about as a kid growing up in Minnesota,” Leidner said.
“Actually, I don’t even know if you dream about this because it seems so far away,” he added.
“For it to actually happen, it’s pretty cool.”
Minnesota opens the regular season at home Sept. 11 against New Orleans and longtime Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson.