A daily dispatch from Eagan
Starting with a boom
Under cloudy skies, a decent crowd of fans bought the hype of new Vikings kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik. They cheered during Monday’s 11th padded practice of training camp — Vedvik’s first — as the second-year pro drilled field goals off a tee from 60 and 62 yards away. He was no ignored attraction, even as Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau roamed the sidelines. However, the Vikings did not conduct a team field goal period, so fans were robbed a chance to see Vedvik or kicker Dan Bailey in full action. Instead, the defense made noise with a strong day in full-team sessions. Kirk Cousins was intercepted twice, with his goal-line drill ending in a pass intended for Stefon Diggs being deflected by cornerback Mackensie Alexander.
Kendricks had a day
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Vikings’ four-time leading tackler, showed off his coverage skills when he sneaked under a route from tight end Kyle Rudolph to intercept Cousins at the goal line. In the first-team offense’s next session, Kendricks had a stellar zone drop ending with a leaping deflection of a pass to Diggs. Kendricks then caught his own tipped ball for his second interception of the afternoon. On the next play, defensive end Everson Griffen wrapped up Cousins in the backfield. Hyped linebacker Anthony Barr yelled something to the effect of, “We’re in your heads!” at the offense.
Dakota Dozier, the former Jets draft pick who signed with the Vikings in free agency, has started to settle in as the second-team left tackle. With Brian O’Neill and Aviante Collins still sidelined, Dozier has bounced between guard and tackle during practices. Third-year tackle Storm Norton even saw reps as the first-team right tackle for O’Neill, rotating with Rashod Hill.
The offense did start off with a spark, when receiver Adam Thielen sped past Alexander and safety Harrison Smith for a deep touchdown grab from Cousins during the first 11-on-11 drill. Thielen has turned the long-ball catches into a daily occurrence entering his seventh NFL season, and looks primed for another spectacular season.
“I think that double move in particular, he had a little bit of a flair with that one. I think he may have been watching some of the older guys run that.” – Coordinator Kevin Stefanski on rookie receiver Olabisi Johnson, who caught an 18-yard touchdown in Friday’s preseason opener.
Punter and holder Matt Wile suffered a cut on his finger Friday in New Orleans that has limited him in the past two practices, coach Mike Zimmer said. Collins (left leg) missed his seventh straight practice. O’Neill (arm) sat out his fourth practice. Defensive end Ade Aruna (undisclosed) has not practiced for nearly two weeks. Running back Ameer Abdullah (undisclosed) and cornerback Kris Boyd (undisclosed) joined O’Neill on a side field to run through rehab work. Running back De’Angelo Henderson (undisclosed) also has not practiced since Friday’s game. Nose tackle Linval Joseph (shoulder) continues to be held out of team drills.