The Vikings officially opened the 51st training camp in Mankato with Friday’s morning walk-through followed by an afternoon practice in helmets on a sunny, 80-degree day. While players won’t crunch pads together until Sunday, coaches kept an up-tempo pace as players jogged between sessions spread across three practice fields. Here are a few snippets from the first day.
Treadwell stays busy
After not playing much, if at all, with the first-team offense this spring, top draft pick Laquon Treadwell saw a handful of snaps Friday with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater during the first training camp practice. Charles Johnson mostly remained with a top group including Stefon Diggs. While he was on the sideline, Treadwell could be seen chopping his feet and staying loose. The 21-year-old receiver stayed at least 20 minutes after practice catching mechanically-hurled footballs from a JUGS machine.
A rough trio
A three-play span in one-on-one drills between receivers and defensive backs was one to forget for cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Johnson sped by on an out-and-up route that faked Rhodes, who jumped on Johnson’s initial cut and was left in the dust. Johnson caught the Teddy Bridgewater pass for a deep completion. Rhodes surrendered three completions in the brief stretch, including one to Treadwell.
Many hands on deck
At least six Vikings were around the group fielding simulated punts from the JUGS machine on Friday. Joining long-time punt returner Marcus Sherels were Diggs, Thielen, receiver Troy Stoudermire, running back Jerick McKinnon and receiver Terrell Sinkfield. Entering his seventh NFL season, Sherels still led the crowded group as he looks to continue his improbable run from undrafted to special-teams mainstay.
“No snow plow, none of that garbage. We’re running! Run!” – Offensive line coach Tony Sparano as he led 15 linemen through a blocking chute designed to keep hulking athletes low to the ground while accelerating out of their stance.
Running back Adrian Peterson eased into camp as he jogged on the side with athletic trainer Eric Sugarman before some light work with the offense. Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson left practice early holding his left shoulder after a leaping downfield grab. Four Vikings weren’t cleared to practice at the onset of training camp. Tight end Rhett Ellison (knee) and nose tackle Kenrick Ellis were placed on the preseason Physically Unable to Perform list. Guard Mike Harris (illness) and quarterback Taylor Heinicke (ankle) were moved to the non-football injury list.
10:30-11:30 a.m. walkthrough
2:45-5 p.m practice