On a day where the Vikings defense stepped up, Tuesday’s loudest hit came from the littlest linebacker. In 11-on-11 action, Larry Dean — all 6 feet and 226 pounds of him — knifed through the defensive line to deliver a resounding tackle for loss on Toby Gerhart.
The most athletic defensive highlight came in 7-on-7 with A.J. Jefferson deflecting a deep ball to Jarius Wright and safety Robert Blanton swooping in to make a diving interception.
Audie Cole’s biggest moments as a Viking came last preseason when he returned interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back plays in a victory over the Bills. The second-year linebacker is showing positive signs early in camp, especially now with the pads on. Cole was active again Tuesday using his 6-5 frame and physicality to make his mark. He’s also a first-teamer on the kickoff and kick return units.
From the podium
The Vikings seem to have more depth on their defensive line than anywhere else, which has coordinator Alan Williams sticking with the 2012 blueprint of using a rotation across all four spots.
The confidence in starters Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion and Brian Robison is high. But there also will be a push to get Everson Griffen, Sharrif Floyd, Fred Evans, Christian Ballard and Lawrence Jackson into action.
Said Williams: “One [hope] is that at the end of the ballgame, when we need to shut it out, guys are fresh and they can get themselves going. Number two would be at the end of the year when we need to make that playoff push, guys are healthy and they don’t have too many reps on their bodies. … The third is that if someone would happen to get injured, that other guy has enough reps under his belt the where he can come in and play winning football.”
“The sooner you can come to grips with the idea that you know what, this isn’t a situation everyone’s fit for, you understand you have to be mentally tough. So you stay out of the papers [for negative publicity] and believe in yourself and believe in your team, then that’s what it’s all about.”
— Backup Matt Cassel, on the challenges of never-ending scrutiny as an NFL starting quarterback.
• WR Greg Childs (knees) was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
• LB Nathan Williams (ankle) was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Three days out
Wednesday: 10:30-11:30 a.m. walk-through; 2:30-4:45 p.m. full pads.