A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that the Vikings were planning joint practices with the Bengals that would take place in the days leading up to their preseason opener in Cincinnati. This morning, the Vikings made it official, announcing two joint practices with Mike Zimmer’s old team.
After wrapping up training camp in Mankato on August 9, the Vikings will immediately fly east to Cincinnati, where they will practice against the Bengals on August 10 and 11. Those practices will be held on the practice fields outside of Paul Brown Stadium and will be open to the public.
Then the two teams will play their preseason opener the night of August 12. Upon returning, the Vikings will resume their preseason training at Winter Park, so it is going to be a short stay down in Mankato this summer.
Zimmer was with the Bengals as their defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2013 before the Vikings hired him as head coach in 2014. He remains on good terms with his old boss, Marvin Lewis, who has been the head coach in Cincinnati since 2003, and he still uses Lewis as a sounding board.
“I think the joint practices will be great for our young team, especially at that time of training camp,” Zimmer said this morning in a statement released by the Vikings. “Having such a great relationship with Marvin and the Bengals organization, it makes it a perfect fit for us to practice there.”
Added Lewis: “Our past experiences with joint practices have been good. You put yourself on the field with another team and let the competitive juices flow a little bit. And it’s great that we could work this out with Zim.”
In recent years, joint practices like these have become pretty common around the NFL. For example, the Cardinals and Chargers are reportedly doing them this summer. And the Texans have scheduled practices with the 49ers and the Saints, who both will practice with other teams, too.
Of course, the Vikings are no strangers to joint practices. They used to link up with the Chiefs in the summertime when they Chiefs held their training camp on the campus of Wisconsin-River Falls. The Chiefs left in 2009.