The Vikings just wrapped up another OTA workout out here at Winter Park, and the three quarterbacks who are jockeying on the depth chart saved their best of a dull morning for last.
None of the quarterbacks were particularly sharp during the bulk of today’s practice. Matt Cassel, who continues to work with the first team, was picked off by second-year cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who jumped a quick hitch and returned it for a touchdown, much to the delight of defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, who yelled, “It’s about time!” during Rhodes’ interception return.
Teddy Bridgewater, who appears to be ahead of Christian Ponder on the depth chart, threw the first interception that we have seen from him in the three open practices, including the rookie minicamp, that we have gotten an opportunity to watch him participate in. Bridgewater was picked off by linebacker Dom DeCicco, who stretched high to catch Bridgewater’s off-target throw.
Bridgewater also struggled in the blitz period, completing just one of his three attempts and getting touched down for a sack on two other dropbacks. On the two incompletions, he was a little late getting the ball out, giving the defensive backs time to contest would-be catches.
All three quarterbacks fared well at the end of practice, though, when Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer asked them to lead the offense the length of the field with a minute left on the clock.
Cassel was sharp while quickly moving the first team into field-goal range. Ponder went second, and he crammed a nice sideline throw into a tight window to rookie receiver Kain Colter, who broke free down the right sideline for a long touchdown. Bridgewater, meanwhile, dinked and dunked at the start of his drive, but somehow managed to get the Vikings to the edge of field-goal range with a nice throw to tight end Allen Reisner, who swerved out of bounds with one second left on the clock.
Beyond the QBs, it was another packed house at Winter Park, as only three men were absent from the OTA. Center John Sullivan was not present because he is getting married this weekend, and outside linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive end Scott Crichton are still back at their respective colleges. Guard David Yankey was in the house, though, having finished his finals at Stanford.
Among those present but not participating fully were left tackle Matt Kalil, strong safety Jamarca Sanford, cornerback Josh Robinson, nose tackle Linval Joseph and running back Joe Banyard.
I spoke with Kalil after practice and he said that he participated in team drills yesterday for the first time since minor offseason knee surgery, but he pushed himself “a little too hard,” so he had to scale back today. Kalil was not committal about his participation level for next week’s mandatory minicamp, but he was upbeat and expects to be ready to roll by the start of training camp.
On a lighter note -- literally -- former Vikings and Ravens center Matt Birk and his kids were guests at the workout. Birk almost looks like a different man after retiring following Super Bowl XLVII.