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What you missed at Vikings training camp on Wednesday, July 29

SETTING THE SCENE: Winds up to 26 miles per hour swept across the practice fields, blowing footballs off tees, wobbling the video platform risers that tower over practice and even swiping the hat off the head of head coach Mike Zimmer at one point. One of the ball boys had to retrieve it as it fluttered away.

GOAL LINE MUSCLE: Even with Adrian Peterson sitting out during the goal-line period, the first-team offense scored on two of three attempts from the 1-yard line. Running back Matt Asiata scored too easily on the first two attempts, both dive plays. Tight end MyCole Pruitt caught a pass in the end zone on the third play, but it didn’t count because he stepped out of bounds while being tightly covered by safety Robert Blanton. 

NO. 2 DEFENSE GETS REVENGE: The tide turned when the second units met in the goal-line drill. The defense won two of three plays on stops that had at least one media member checking numbers on his roster. Chigbo Anunoby, a 6-5, 320-pound tackle, tossed aside an offensive lineman and buried running back Jerick McKinnon. End B.J. Dubose also made an overpowering stop. The other snap saw Shaun Hill throw a touchdown to tight end Chase Ford.

TEDDY SHOWS SOME ZIP: Backup quarterbacks Hill, Mike Kafka and rookie Tyler Heinicke struggled with the wind as the Vikings threw against it or with a cross wind for most of practice. Meanwhile, starter Teddy Bridgewater handled the wind much better. He threw tighter spirals with some zip, particularly on a couple of passes to Charles Johnson and Kyle Rudolph. The pass to Johnson was about a 20-yard out pattern.

GOOD DAY FOR WALLACE: The new arrival at No. 1 receiver, Mike Wallace, continues to make some head-turning plays. Today, he was covered tightly by Xavier Rhodes on a short out pass. When the ball arrived with some zip, Wallace made a one-handed grab.

A LITTLE REST FOR SULLY, LOADHOLT: Center John Sullivan and right tackle Phil Loadholt got a few snaps off during a team period. Veteran Joe Berger stepped in for Sullivan while rookie T.J. Clemmings took over at right tackle. The experiment with moving Clemmings to guard ended before camp began. You can see why. The Big Fella needs to focus on one position and it should be the one he knows how to play. He looks like a good player, but he also looks like a rookie. He really struggled in one-on-one drills against end Brian Robison.

QUICK HITS: The team practiced onside kicks, but needed someone to hold the ball because the wind kept blowing it off the tee. Kicker Blair Walsh nailed some wild-looking onside kicks that he’d love to have in games. … Running back Matt Asiata, normally pretty sure-handed, dropped a pass thrown perfectly. … Rhodes is at his best when he’s physical. He broke up a slant pass to Johnson that sent the ball and both players sprawling to the ground.

CAMP CHATTER: “Can we get security over here?” — Linebacker Chad Greenway after former Viking “Benchwarmer Bob” Lurtsema yelled out to linebacker Audie Cole during an individual drill.

INJURY REPORT: Knock on wood, but the Vikings appear to have made it to their first off day Thursday without any additional injuries of note. Cornerback Josh Robinson, who has yet to practice, remains the only player sidelined.

SCHEDULE: Players are off Thursday. Friday, they have a morning walkthrough (10:30-11:30) and an afternoon practice in pads (2:45-5). Saturday, they have the morning walkthrough at the same time and then a night practice in pads at Blakeslee Stadium (7:15-9:15).

Aiyegbusi working hard, but admits, 'There's a long way for me to go'

Just four months ago, Babatunde Aiyegbusi left his family back in Poland, made his first visit to the United States, impressed the Vikings at a workout, got a second look at Winter Park and was signed to an NFL contract.

Now comes the difficult part — proving that he belongs in the NFL.

The 6-foot-9 offensive tackle didn’t play organized football until he was in college, and the organized football he played in various European leagues wasn’t up to snuff with what we’ve got going on here across the pond.

“This is totally different from the thing I knew before,” Aiyegbusi admits.

Aiyegbusi spent the spring familiarizing himself with Minnesota, the vast Vikings playbook, his curious new teammates and proper technique.

Now the pads are on, and it’s time for him to show everybody what he has learned. His power in run blocking is unmistakable as he pushes around third-string defensive lineman. But he has struggled with his technique in pass protection, and catching up on the offense has proved difficult.

“It’s not easy. I’ve got my ups and down,” Aiyegbusi said. “My strongest [attribute] is being physical at the point of attack, going forward and pushing the guys up. Worst part is that there are a lot of new plays for me and still struggling with getting it all down. So I’ve got my ups and downs, but coaches see that I work hard and I think that I’ll be good.”

During the first week of training camp, Aiyegbusi has typically been one of the last players to walk off the field, and even though he looks exhausted, he still makes time to sign autographs for kids and talk to reporters. He said he has no choice but to get extra practice in if he wants to stick around.

“It’s the only way you can catch up,” he said. “I’m always not satisfied with my technique. There’s a long way for me to go. These guys that I practice with having been playing at a high level over here for a long time.”

The coaches see the effort that the 27-year-old Pole is putting in.

“Each day he’s working hard to improve,” offensive line coach Jeff Davidson said. “He’s got a lot to learn still in the game. A lot of us do. He is, obviously, a big physical presence. He’s got a lot of stuff to learn with his game first. It’s technique. It’s offense. It’s terms. It’s everything.”

The problem is Aiyegbusi doesn’t have much more time to convince the Vikings to give him a spot on their practice squad (making the 53-man roster looks like a longshot for Babs at this point). In a month, after five preseason games, the Vikings will have to make their final roster cuts.

Can he convince the Vikings to remain committed to this experiment? It’s too soon to say, but they believe he has been worth their time so far.

“Guys with his size don’t come along very often,” Davidson said. “So it’s certainly worth working with a guy like that to see what he can become.”

Today's Scoreboard

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