Temperatures crept into the 90s, but the stands were still packed on Friday with the Vikings Family Football Day set for Saturday. The practice didn’t meet head coach Mike Zimmer’s expectations. It was a sloppy practice in his eyes, with quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater throwing an interception each during an 11-on-11 session. The defense mixed in zone principles in the secondary.
Right before the final 11-on-11 period, one of the camera operators ran into a fence as he tried to get his crane in position to shoot from the end zone on the field closest to the stands. The crane fortunately didn’t tip over, but was trapped in between two fields after damaging a portion of the fence that separates the practice fields and the track.
From the podium
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said punter Jeff Locke looks comfortable as he approaches his second season. He was inconsistent through most of his rookie season but strung together a few good performances to finish the year.
Now in Mankato, Locke has created problems for some of the punt returners with booming kicks exceeding 50 yards. But Priefer wants Locke to focus on directional punting this year despite his increased strength and efficiency.
“Going bombs away down the middle of the field is not always a great thing, depending on who you play, depending on the area of the field, depending on the returner,” Priefer said. “But if we can cut the field in half and have punts land on or outside the numbers with still good hang time, still good distance, the productivity, it’ll help our coverage immensely.”
“It’s good for a young quarterback to see some of the things that we do on defense because that’s what people are going to do to him early in the year anyway if he’s the guy. So for me, if I’m the defensive coordinator, I’m going to give the guy a bunch of different looks.”
— Head coach Mike Zimmer, who intentionally gave both Bridgewater and Cassel different looks on defense.
• CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) missed practice after he returned on Thursday. S Robert Blanton (hamstring) remained unavailable.
• TE AC Leonard (headache) missed practice again and received testing. Zimmer said the doctors don’t think it’s a concussion. TE Chase Ford (foot) still had a walking boot on his left foot.
• S Andrew Sendejo (back) sat out but Zimmer expects him to be activated off the PUP list and practice early next week.
Three days out
Saturday: 10:30-11:30 a.m.; 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Monday: 10:30-11:30 a.m.; 3-5:10 p.m.