Some highlights from the media sessions held a little earlier today with coach Mike Zimmer and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer …
– Linebacker Anthony Barr, limited to individual drills the first two days of camp, will do “a little more” work when today’s practice begins at 2:45 p.m. That likely means Barr will participate in some team drills on the first day the pads go on. A good sign for the guy coming back from two knee injuries since late last season.
– Rookie receiver DaVaris Daniels was be removed from the non-football injury list and participated in today’s walkthrough. He’ll also practice.
– Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, also on the non-football injury report, will need at least another day of rest for his swollen knee.
– Players already know that the old-school Zimmer will practice in all the elements except lightning, of course. “Bring your rain coats,” the coach told the media.
– Zimmer said he “assumes” the team will keep a third quarterback, but said that hasn’t been determined.
– Asked about 14-year veteran QB Shaun Hill, Zimmer cracked that “He needed an extra can of oil for his arm” the first couple days.
– There’s either a really dumb rookie or a really funny rookie on the roster. Zimmer said, “I asked in the meeting today, ‘How many dumb rookies to we have?’ One guy raised his hand. I won’t tell you who it was.”
From Priefer …
– The long snapper battle does not have a leading candidate, even though Cullen Loeffler has handled the job since 2004. Priefer said the reps and rotation are being split “exactly” and that it’s “an open competition” between Loeffler and Kevin McDermott. Loeffler hasn’t had to fight for his job since he was a rookie. McDermott has experience in this sort of competition, having beaten out a veteran in San Francisco before. “They’re both pros,” said Priefer, referring to how they’re handling the situation.
– Meanwhile, a familiar competition is playing out at punt returner, where incumbent Marcus Sherels is once again in a battle to keep his job and his roster spot. Priefer voiced his respect for Sherels and said “it’s his job right now and he’s still the No. 1 punt returner on our team, but there will be competition for him.” The primary competition appears to be coming from rookie Stefon Diggs. “He’s catching punts better than he ever has,” Priefer said of the rookie.
– Priefer said there was no pattern to kicker Blair Walsh’s career-high 10 misses a year ago. “Two were blocked, so that’s not his fault,” Priefer said. “Maybe three [actually four] were over 50 yards. Those are tough to make. He’s one of the most reliable guys I’ve been around. So I don’t think he’ll skip a beat this year.”
– Asked if this was the year for punter Jeff Locke to “prove himself,” Priefer said, “He’s already proved himself. I think he’s got the Vikings record for net punts.” Locke’s two-year net average of 38.9 yards ranks No. 1 among team punters with at least 100 punts. No. 2 is Boby Walden (1964-67) at 38.2.