Justice Page takes it in
Setting the scene
A strange weather day saw Sunday’s afternoon practice begin under light rain and bright sunshine. At the same time. An overcast sky moved in as the air cooled and lighting appeared, but it wasn’t close enough to chase the team inside or clear the bleachers. Plenty of seats were available. NFL Network broadcast live from the practice fields with interviews throughout the day. And no bigger star was spotted than Vikings Hall of Famer Alan Page, who watched the morning walkthrough from the sideline.
Watch the left hook
The first fisticuffs of training camp came Sunday afternoon when a pass play during an 11-on-11 session resulted in several punches being exchanged. Rookie linebacker Devante Downs and offensive tackle Aviante Collins appeared to be the angry instigators. As more players joined the fray, coach Mike Zimmer, 62 and a tad smaller than his players, leapt into the middle of the scrum to settle things down. “We had a little discussion out there about that,” Zimmer said. “When I jump in, they jump out.” Asked how an angry player would know it’s the head coach yanking on him from behind, Zim said, “Oh, they’ll know I’m there.”
Diggs scores at end
Zimmer’s end-of-practice “game situation” put the offense at the opposition’s 16-yard line, first-and-10 with 55 seconds left and two timeouts. Latavius Murray gained 3 yards on first down and caught a 4-yard pass over the middle on second down. With the clock ticking away, Kirk Cousins found Stefon Diggs over the middle for a 9-yard touchdown as an apparently pro-offense fan base cheered its approval.
Former Vikings Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton — or what is left of him — was spotted on the sideline Sunday. It was his first day as a scouting intern with the Vikings. Felton played nine seasons with five teams from 2008 to 2016. He was with the Vikings from 2012 to 2014. In 2012, he was the lead blocker for Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards while winning league MVP that season. No longer fullback-sized, Felton looks great and is much trimmer than his listed playing weight of 246.
“It was a bad Thanksgiving.” — Zimmer, when asked what he remembers about Vikings Hall of Famer Randy Moss catching three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys and Zimmer, their defensive backs coach at the time, back in 1998.
• The old-school Zimmer is quite the gamer. He had a root canal Sunday morning and didn’t miss a minute of practice.
• WR Stacey Coley missed his second straight day of practice because of a groin injury.
• C Pat Elflein remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list as he rehabs following shoulder and ankle surgeries.
• RT Rashod Hill split reps with rookie Brian O’Neill. Zimmer said Hill just had an upset stomach.