Eyes are on the Vikings offense as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continues to rest a reported sore shoulder and offensive line combinations keep changing.
Players return to practice Tuesday after an off day that was moved up following Sunday’s shortened session. With Bridgewater and backup Shaun Hill limited by undisclosed injuries, only one quarterback, undrafted rookie Joel Stave, could run most of the starting offense over the weekend. So that will be the obvious topic of conversation at Winter Park, where they’ll practice three times and finish the week with the first practice at U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday morning.
Will Adrian Peterson be playing there two days later? If he wants to they’ll consider it, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. We’ll hear from Peterson this week.
Here are four other things we’re watching for:
Who’s passing? — Bridgewater has only been held back in two practices, though it’s been a week since he last practiced in full. Zimmer has repeatedly declined to discuss why Bridgewater has been held out recently, though his lack of throwing all but confirms a sore shoulder as reported by ESPN. Zimmer initially called 36-year-old Shaun Hill’s absence Saturday a “vet day,” however he was also held back on Sunday. Limited playbook knowledge means newly-signed Brad Sorensen is an extra arm for individual drills and not much else, yet. All while last year’s third-string quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, remains in a walking boot with a repaired tendon in his foot. Will Bridgewater or Hill be ready to start this week of practices leading up to Sunday’s preseason opener at U.S. Bank Stadium?
How involved will Patterson be? — Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson played 21 snaps in his preseason debut last week, catching two balls on screens designed for him. Entering a contract season, Patterson has said he’s motivated to resurrect his career in Minnesota after a standout rookie campaign is three years in the past. Will he have to make plays downfield to do that? Those manufactured touches for Patterson could be a sign they’re willing to meet him halfway, or simply a confidence booster for continued tests moving forward. He’s in a crowded position group looking to fill a void at the top, including Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell, Charles Johnson, Adam Thielen and Jarius Wright.
Which five? — First, an eye will be kept on left tackle where Matt Kalil left practice Sunday with an apparent leg injury. T.J. Clemmings took over for him with the first-team offense. Since a brief resurfacing last week with the starters, Clemmings has ceded most starting reps at right tackle to Andre Smith, who got a consecutive preseason start in Seattle. While that competition appears settled, both Joe Berger and John Sullivan got a day as the starting center this weekend upon Brandon Fusco’s return to right guard. Zimmer could look to solidify that group prior to Sunday, when starters traditionally play their final preseason snaps.
How’s Floyd? – The Vikings’ pass rush has looked in midseason form through two exhibitions, in which quarterbacks have completed just 52.9 percent of passes and taken eight sacks. That includes four sacks of Seahawks starter Russell Wilson last week. All without starting defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who has been easing back since Aug. 6 from a nagging knee injury. He donned pads this weekend and briefly rejoined team drills on Sunday, which is a sign of progress for the former first-round pick. He may not need any preseason work, which would be understandable given his injury history. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (hamstring) is also still easing his way back from an injury suffered 2.5 weeks ago.