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Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

McKinnon, Sendejo, Patterson and Floyd aren't practicing

The Vikings are holding their first practice in preparation for Monday night’s game at Chicago.

Not practicing during the brief portion of practice open to reporters were running back Jerick McKinnon, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, safety Andrew Sendejo and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.

Patterson was on the field, but not in pads. The other players weren’t on the field.

Sendejo sprained an ankle early in the Eagles game and didn’t return. Floyd hasn’t played since having knee surgery after the season opener.

Bradford: Team effort needed to speed up Vikings passing attack

If the Vikings are going to pass protect better, move the ball more efficiently and keep Sam Bradford on the right side of injured reserve, the football can’t come out so darn sloooooooooooowly in the passing game.

That’s essentially the feeling we’re getting from the QB who got hit 18 times, sacked four times and fumbled four times during Sunday’s 21-10 loss at Philadelphia.

“Obviously there were times when I could have gotten the ball out quicker,” Bradford said today as the Vikings begin practices for Monday night’s game at Chicago.

But it’s not just a Bradford thing, Bradford accurately reminded us.

“I think when you look at it, it’s all of us,” he said. “I’ve got to find way to get the ball out. We got to find different schemes to get it out [quicker]. We’ve got to get open out wide quicker. And sometimes protection has got to be a little bit better. I think we all have a hand in it.

“This week, going out to practice, I think we all realize we have to do our jobs to solve the problems that showed up on Sunday.”

Asked if he should have held onto the ball better, the man who lost two of his four fumbles said, “I think probably the [two] in the second half, I definitely could have tried to hold onto those [better]. Put two hands on it, especially in traffic. At that point in the game, I realized that we had seen quite a bit of pressure. I do have to be better and be more aware of my surroundings and keep two hands on it to make it secure in the pocket.”

Meanwhile, coach Mike Zimmer has moved on to Chicago. He’s ripped into his players, but now he’s building them back up.

“I know I wasn’t happy with our team last week, but I believe in this football team,” Zimmer said. “I  believe that this team still has a lot of great people on it. they want to be good. I think they’re focused on the task at hand all the time. I think the way they work, I wouldn’t want to coach any other football team.”

Zimmer upset about ‘stuffed animal’ error

Zimmer kicked off today’s press conference by setting the record straight regarding an error made and since corrected by the Star Tribune. In reporting that Zimmer had distributed fat stuffed-animal cats around Winter Park as a motivational tactic to remind players not to become complacent, the newspaper erroneously reported that Zimmer had the stuffed animal’s throats slit and red paint applied to the slash. Someone else did that after Zimmer distributed the stuffed animals.

Said Zimmer: “I want to set the record straight on an erroneous report that I feel like attacked my character and my reputation.

“I’ve got about 10 [newspaper] pages of things here. ‘Mike Zimmer mass slaughtering of stuffed animals”; “Motivational tactic didn’t help”; “Failed to motivate Vikings with bloodied stuffed animals”; “Weird motivational techniques”; “Slaughtered a bunch of stuffed animals”; “Violent stuffed animal message didn’t help Vikings in loss”; “Commits stuffed-animal genocide”; “Staging stuffed-animal massacre”; “Stuffed-animal slaughter karma turns on Vikings”; “Slitting the throats of stuffed animals not enough to motivate.”

“I had nothing to do with that. Just kind of goes to show you that … and, actually, the stuffed animals that I did have here were given to charity for Toys for Tots. But it just kind of goes to show you that when one thing gets out there, and it was [corrected] that I had nothing to do with it. But unfortunately the headlines still keep coming out. And it bothers me.

“I want to make sure we get the record straight because my foundation website is getting things saying, ‘Your dad’s crazy and blah, blah, blah and all this stuff.’ I do a lot of crazy stuff, but I’ll admit it when I do it.”

7:30 PM, 10/31 (ESPN)
Minnesota 5-1
Chicago 1-6

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