Ex-Cowboy pays a call
Setting the scene
An unrelenting sun and 85-degree air made for a heated Vikings practice on Tuesday, just before the players’ first off day of training camp on Wednesday. Seemingly weathered fans started to clear out the bleachers before the end of practice. Perhaps no visitor drew more attention than ex-Cowboys safety Darren Woodson, who was coached by Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in Dallas from 1994-2004. “It was great seeing Darren,” Zimmer said. “He was doing things back then that safeties do now.”
Four straight runs led into four purple walls. A goal-line rushing drill was stymied not once, twice, thrice but four times by the Vikings starting defense in their purple practice jerseys. Safety Andrew Sendejo blitzed off the edge to wrap up running back Mike Boone for one stop. Then fullback C.J. Ham ran into a turned-around Nick Easton, who was pushed into the backfield by nose tackle Linval Joseph. Latavius Murray and Mack Brown also got carries that ended short of the goal line.
Tight end shuffle
Todd Downing, last year’s Raiders offensive coordinator, has transitioned to tight ends coach to fill the void left by Clancy Barone moving to lead the offensive line. Downing, who was hired as an offensive assistant this offseason, should keep busy in an offense expected to feature tight ends. That was on display Tuesday, as the Vikings used three tight ends at once during red-zone work. Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Conklin, the rookie fifth-round pick, also flashed with tough snags in passing drills. “It’s a good group,” Downing said. “Excited about the young guys we have. Conklin has done a nice job getting back up to speed since missing time this spring.”
Win some, lose some
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander became the latest Vikings defensive back to nab an interception during camp when he jumped a Kirk Cousins pass intended for receiver Adam Thielen in 11-on-11 drills. This only came after receiver Brandon Zylstra caught a Cousins pass that Alexander had tipped into the air during passing drills. Zylstra, an NFL rookie via the Canadian Football League and Concordia Moorhead, displayed his vision by tracking the ball that was sent sailing above and behind Alexander’s helmet.
“When you have a body like Laquon does, if you know how to use it you can really be a dangerous weapon.” – offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Laquon Treadwell’s progress in camp.
• Right guard Mike Remmers limped off the practice field under his own power after an apparent lower leg injury. Remmers did not return to practice.
• Right tackle Rashod Hill (illness) put on pads but was held out of most individual and team drills while recovering from a stomach illness.
• Rookie tackle Brian O’Neill took reps at right tackle.
• Receiver Stacy Coley (groin) missed his fourth consecutive practice.
• Center Pat Elflein (ankle/shouler) remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list.