A daily dispatch from Mankato.
The first play of the first 11-on-11 segment Monday didn’t go so well. Christian Ponder was pressured as he threw to his right. Nose tackle Letroy Guion got a big mitt on the ball, deflecting it into the hands of left defensive end Brian Robison for the interception. Ponder’s next pass was a deep crossing pass to tight end John Carlson that was broken up. But the offense also had its moments. Joe Webb once again showed off some soft hands by catching an over-the-shoulder pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson while in tight coverage.
A Bond-ing experience
Wondering which Vikings player played most in Friday’s preseason opener? It was Travis Bond, a seventh-round draft pick out of North Carolina, who’s being evaluated as a backup guard. His 48 snaps against Houston gave Leslie Frazier and his staff an opportunity to test the rookie’s abilities in a game situation.
Said Frazier: “You’re trying to find out if a guy is handling it mentally. And he didn’t make many mental errors. … But the technical part, I’m sure he’ll tell you, that’s one of the things he’s going to have to work on.” Houston’s movement up front addled Bond at times. But the rookie’s athleticism showed as well.
From the podium
The more special teams coordinator Mike Priefer watches Cordarrelle Patterson’s first game touch with the Vikings, the more he realizes how close the rookie came to delivering a 106-yard kick return score. Jerome Felton delivered a key block on the right side of the return and Sharrif Floyd was running with Patterson to finish things off. But from the backside, Houston’s A.J. Bouye stopped the return after 50 yards when Patterson stumbled juking around the kicker. “It was very, very close to a touchdown,” Priefer said.
“It didn’t surprise me. I mean, how many touchdowns did the kid have in college?”
– Vikings running backs coach James Saxon, referring to Friday night’s 61-yard touchdown reception by fullback Zach Line, a rookie free agent who shares Southern Methodist’s career record for rushing touchdowns (47) with a guy named Eric Dickerson.
• DT Christian Ballard (groin) didn’t practice because of injury and personal reasons. There is no timetable for his return.
• WR Greg Childs (knees) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
• LB Audie Cole returned to practice.
• DT Sharrif Floyd (knee) returned to practice.
Schedule:Three days out
Tuesday: 10:30-11:30 a.m. walkthrough; 2:30-4:45 p.m. full pads.