Mike Priefer is a veteran special teams coach in his eighth season with the Vikings, and he’s nearing the end of perhaps his most challenging preseason in Minnesota.
Kicker Daniel Carlson, punter Ryan Quigley and the Vikings reserves on punt and kickoff coverage didn’t play well last week against the Seahawks. Younger players generally have played better at this point in the preseason, Priefer said, leading him to putting the onus on himself to coach better while also sending a message to his specialists ahead of Thursday night’s exhibition finale in Tennessee.
“For them, it’s the Super Bowl,” Priefer said Monday. “They have to go out and play hard, play to the best of their ability and prepare themselves for Week 1 or they’re going to be somewhere else — talking about the other special teams guys. They could be somewhere else or not in the NFL at all.”
About two weeks before the Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco, Priefer sat down this weekend with Quigley to review last season’s game film “to see what he was successful at” regarding directional punts. Priefer estimated only one of Quigley’s five punts was good against the Seahawks. Of greater concern is Carlson, the rookie kicker who missed two 42-yard field-goal attempts and, according to Priefer, had just one good kickoff out of three during his first game after winning the job over veteran Kai Forbath.
“Good kickers in the National Football League don’t miss two in a row, they don’t,” Priefer said. “The good ones are going to miss one, straighten it out and make the next 10. That’s what a good NFL kicker does, and that’s what he’s got to figure out. I’m going to help him in that regard.”
Jones aided by Shurmur’s offense
Giants coach Pat Shurmur called Mike Zimmer on Sunday night after the Vikings traded for center Brett Jones. The conversation was Zimmer’s first dive into his latest newly acquired lineman.
Jones took some second-team snaps at center during Monday’s practice, and his immersion has been expedited by the fact that he comes from Shurmur’s Giants offense, which has elements of what the Vikings continue to run in Minnesota. Jones will play Thursday against the Titans.
“That was one of the things coach Shurmur told me is that the offense would be pretty similar,” Jones said. “Definitely there’s a lot of similarities. It’s been a good transition so far for me to catch onto the plays, the words and things like that.”
Waynes not practicing
Cornerback Trae Waynes, who isn’t expected to play anyway in Thursday’s preseason finale, was the latest Vikings player to miss practice Monday. He was not spotted on the field. The Vikings were down to six healthy corners at practice as Mackensie Alexander (ankle), Mike Hughes (undisclosed) and Marcus Sherels (hamstring) watched practice from the sideline.
Also held out Monday were receivers Tavarres King, Chad Beebe and Stacy Coley, safety Jack Tocho, linebacker Devante Downs and offensive lineman Josh Andrews.
• Guard Danny Isidora continued to take 11-on-11 reps at center Monday, indicating the Vikings could play him at center against the Titans on Thursday. They’re down to three healthy centers, including two — Jones and J.P. Quinn — who joined the team in the past five weeks.
• Cornerback Holton Hill, a rookie undrafted addition, got some first-team reps with four cornerbacks sidelined Monday. “He’s still a ways away,” Zimmer said. “But he’s got a lot of good attributes.”
• The Vikings waived center Jacob Judd on Monday, less than a week after signing the former Western Illinois player for depth.