Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

What you missed at Vikings training camp this afternoon

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: July 27, 2014 - 5:51 PM

Another day, another opportunity to get to know more about new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. During today's two-hour practice, the first in full pads during the Zimmer era, we learned that the hard-nosed coach will emphasize the running game and isn't afraid of practicing in the rain.

The 11-on-11 drill periods during the entire first half of practice were dedicated to running the ball and stopping the run. It was obviously designed that way so the coaching staff could finally get a look at these players in pads. Zimmer had talked the day before about needing to see how the offensive and defensive lines handled their "pad levels, how we strike, how we get off blocks."

SETTING THE SCENE: In recent past years, even the possibility of rain sent practices indoors to a small gymnasium that made practice essentially a second walk-through. Today, the Vikings opened practice in a soft rain. The skies cleared, although it remained unseasonably chilly throughout the practice. Toward the end of practice, a brief, but heavy rain fell. But rather than run for cover like a bunch of reporters, Zimmer and the Vikings continued to run 11-on-11 passing drills before wrapping up with some special teams work. Zimmer sets aside multiple periods for special teams work during his 2-hour practices.

YOUR DAILY QUARTERBACK SMORGASBORG: An unofficial tally of practice throws during 11-on-11 competition saw Matt Cassel complete 11 of 13 passes, while Teddy Bridgewater went 10 of 11 and Christian Ponder 4 of 7. Most of the passing work focused on shorter routes and check-down passes to the running backs. Ponder had one drop among his three incompletions. There was no movement in the pecking order. Cassel is still the No. 1 QB, while Bridgewater was No. 2 and Ponder a distant No. 3. Bridgewater appears to be gaining momentum daily though. Cassel was being wise Friday when he said he still had a long way to go in this competition.

GREENWAY EXPERIMENT CONTINUES: The Vikings definitely are exploring the possibility of playing longtime strong-side linebacker Chad Greenway in the middle and Gerald Hodges, a second-year player, at Greenway's regular spot and Audie Cole at the other outside spot. In addition to playing his usual spot, Greenway also got some more first-team reps today at middle linebacker in place of Jasper Brinkley. Greenway had a strong middle rush during a blitzing period. He pushed Adrian Peterson back into Cassel for a sack. Peterson isn't the best pass protector in the world, but knocking him backward the way Greenway did isn't an easy thing to do.

VINTAGE AP MOVE IN TRAFFIC: If I had to pick a winner during the 11-on-11 segment that focused on the run, I'd say the defensive front gets the nod. Running backs were backed up several times as the line of scrimmage moved backward. The offense also had some nice plays. Peterson had one move that looked like some of the things he did en route to 2,097 yards rushing in 2012. On one particular play, he burst through a seam in the middle, did one of those vintage hops to his right and shot down the field. The Vikings don't tackle in practice, but there's a good chance the defense wouldn't have tackled him on that play even if he were fair game.

TEDDY TO MR. MANKATO: The guy who's turning heads most consistently down here is receiver Adam Thielen. It's a nice story considering he went to school here and is a long-shot prospect who certainly looks like an upgrade to Joe Webb, the No. 5 receiver a year ago. Thielen clearly has gotten stronger and is in even better shape than he was last year when he made the practice squad. He's also confident and has been a consistent standout since OTAs began. Today, Bridgewater threw him a deep-out pass that Thielen came down with in tight coverage. The pass was perfect in its trajectory, spin, velocity and accuracy. If Bridgewater can repeat that throw with poise under pressure and release quickness, he'll be the starter sooner than later.

KEEP AN EYE ON PRICE: If not for Thielen, the guy who might be turning the most heads is cornerback Jabari Price, the rookie seventh-round draft pick. He doesn't have ideal size, but he fights hard for the ball and has a knack for being close enough to make a play on the ball. During individual drills today, he lined up across from Jerome Simpson on one snap. He muscled Simpson out of his original route and then got a hand on the incompletion about 10 yards downfield. Two officials working practice threw flags on him for pass interference. Price threw his arms up and complained about the call. It definitely was a penalty, but it was impressive how hard Price competed for the ball. That hasn't always been the case for Vikings corners in recent years.

HE SAID IT: Speaking about his former teammate and still longtime friend Jared Allen, defensive end Brian Robison smiled and said, "I told him I hope his streak of losing game in Chicago continues." Allen, now a Bear, lost his last six games at Soldier Field.

INJURY REPORT: Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson remained sidelined because of a foot injury. Zimmer continues to say Patterson is day to day and could return as early as Monday. ... Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn remains on PUP because of a hamstring injury. He appears to be getting closer to practicing. Meanwhile, safety Andrew Sendejo, also also is on PUP because of back and ankle issues, doesn't appear close to returning from injuries that have sidelined him since the end of last season.


San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
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Houston 6:00 PM
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
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LA Clippers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Washington 8:30 PM
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
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