Coach Mike Zimmer was asked how he's doing as he came off the practice field this afternoon.
"Not as good as yesterday," he said.
Asked for an instant evaluation of the practice, which was held in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, he said, "Sloppy."
"I didn't think we were as precise as we have been probably on both sides of the ball," Zimmer said. "Effort was good, but we've got a lot of things in, so some of the stuff runs together for them. We're making way too many mistakes for my liking. So we got to keep working it, getting this stuff right."
There's never been a training camp that didn't experience lulls like the Vikings had today. Zimmer said he went into the practice thinking this could be one of those sloppy afternoons.
"Honestly, the team is working hard," he said. "They busted their rear end yesterday. It was a very physical, fast-paced day on both sides of the ball. I kind of anticipated that it would be a little bit not as good today. That's why I brought them up early and told them, `Hey, we got to suck it up and we got to go.' That's kind of the way it goes."
SETTING THE SCENE: It was perfect weather and some imperfect performances on and off the field. Zimmer touched on how the team was just a little bit off. But he didn't know until after practice just how off one of his camera operators was while attempting to drive his lift machine from one field to another during practice. The big machine, which allows the camera operators to film practice from high above, became entangled and stuck on the chain-link fence that runs behind the fields. Fans in the nearby stands cheered when the machine was sfreed from the fence. But it wasn't able to be be moved into its normal position. As for the fence, it was destroyed. "I did not see that," Zimmer said as he turned to look. "Nice job. Whoa, look at that fence."
YOUR DAILY QUARTERBACK SMORGASBORG: Matt Cassel went 13 of 18 with an interception during the 11-on-11 competition. Teddy Bridgewater, who continues to get sprinkled into some first-team reps, went 14 of 20. And Christian Ponder, who remains a distant No. 3, completed 5 of 7 with the third unit. Zimmer went back to the word "sloppy" to describe today's QB play.
"We gave them a lot of different looks on defense today, too," he said. "That's part of the evaluation is it's not to line up there in the same look every time and they know where they're going before the ball is snapped. 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."
SOME REST FOR GREENWAY: A day after 29-year-old Adrian Peterson got the day off from heavy lifting, 31-year-old linebacker Chad Greenway was rested today. "Just trying to take care of the older guys a bit," Zimmer said. Rookie seventh-round draft pick Brandon Watts got a significant amount of reps at Greenway's weak-side spot with the first unit. Watts is raw and a bit undersized at 6-2, 231, but the kid can run. He also got overpowered once when he was driven to the ground by tight end Rhett Ellison.
COX GETTING COMFORTABLE AT CORNER: Bridgewater's interception came on an out route when receiver Adam Thielen slipped and fell. Backup cornerback Derek Cox was right there to make the interception right behind the fallen Thielen. Cox came in as one of the top competitors for the third cornerback job. If he's making progress toward that goal, it hasn't shown in practice. "I think he's getting more comfortable with the techniques," Zimmer said. "He's a smart guy, so he understands a lot of things. The smarter guys generally play a little bit better early."
CAN YANKEE PULL AN UPSET?: David Yankee doesn't look like your typical rookie offensive lineman. He looks more developed physically, especially when you consider he's a fifth-round draft pick. It doesn't appear that he'll unseat left guard Charlie Johnson in camp, but he seems to be progressing toward being able to step in should Johnson struggle. Yankee looks well balanced with a low center of gravity. He's also clearly an advanced technician when it comes to pulling. "The first thing you have to do is clear the line and then when he gets there, the linebackers are moving, so you have to be able to adjust on your feet to get to that guy," Zimmer said. "It's coming around and then being able to find the moving linebacker and be able to kick him out or turn him back in. He did it about a million times in college, so that helped him. He's done it so much that he's good at it."
COLEMAN WITH A NICE PICK: Cassel was working briefly with the second-team offense when a ball intended for running back Jerick McKinnon was intercepted by safety Kurt Coleman, who made a diving catch. I'm a little surprised Coleman isn't more in the mix for the opening next to Harrison Smith. But that spot is far from being determined.
HORN REMINDS PLAYERS TO PLAY TO THE WHISTLE: The Vikings started using this obnoxious-sounding horn in practice today. Its purpose is to remind players not to quit on a play before the whistle. It's something Zimmer used when he first got to Cincinnati as defensive coordinator. Today, the horn was blown at five seconds after the snap.
"I'm trying to remind them that we have to keep playing," Zimmer said. "We have one of the best running backs in the league and if we will sustain our blocks or we will swarm on defense that we will [be more successful]. I'm just trying to remind them that we have to go hard until at least this long each and every play. Some of the pass plays take a little longer. I'm trying to get them to understand that you do your job. If you're standing over here and the ball is over there, we got to get our butt over there to help. Same thing with the offense. We can't block this guy and then stop. Let's keep blocking and stay on him. Basically, we want them to finish."
INJURY UPDATE: Safety Robert Blanton [hamstring], safety Andrew Sendejo (back) and tight end Chase Ford (foot surgery) sat out again today. Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) sat out a day after he had returned. Meanwhile, rookie free agent tight end AC Leonard missed another practice after leaving the field earlier this week because of a headache. "He's getting some tests done," Zimmer said. Asked if it was for a concussion, Zimmer said, "Honestly, I don't know. He had a headache and [the team doctors] don't think it was a concussion. So I don't really know."