Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond spoke to reporters for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 on July 31.

Mond said he dealt with flu-like symptoms while he was out with the virus — "Day 2 through 4 was when I struggled the most," he said — but added he was still in virtual meetings and feels fine now. The challenge for him, at this point, is to find a groove on offense after missing 10 days of practice.

"Honestly, Mond needs to pick up the tempo," coach Mike Zimmer said. "Everything is slow-motion, a little bit, but he did make some good throws [Thursday], I thought, and moved out of the pocket a couple of times. He needs a bunch of experience, so he's going to get a lot of reps in this preseason. Just watching him, everything needs to get sped up, faster and quicker, because it happens so much faster than he's used to, I'm sure."

Does Mond plan to get vaccinated now that he's had COVID? "I've talked to people around me who I trust," he said. "I think it's a little bit more in the conversation since I've had COVID-19, but I think those are personal things I'm [not] going to speak about. Like everyone is entitled to their own opinion."

Here are more observations from the Vikings-Broncos joint practice Thursday:

With Christian Darrisaw out and Rashod Hill leaving practice early, Blake Brandel finished the day working with both the first and second teams at left tackle during a chippy practice that featured a number of flags from referees and a couple shoving matches — including one that ended with a profane rebuke from offensive line coach Phil Rauscher.

Said Zimmer of the extra emotions in practice, "I think it was stupid."

The coach said he didn't think the offensive line started well, but improved after the second practice period. "We had some good runs on them, had better time in the pocket, we just started slow [Thursday] today for some reason," he said.

The Vikings were also without wide receiver Blake Proehl, who injured his right leg Wednesday. Defensive end Danielle Hunter, linebacker Anthony Barr, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and quarterback Nate Stanley did not wear pads.

Jake Browning connected with Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a touchdown on a post route near the end of practice, which the rookie drafted out of Iowa capped with a dance in the end zone. "He's gonna be a good player," Zimmer said. "I'm trying to get him better on special teams, because he's going to have that role. He's still going to have to do better there."

The fifth-round pick's confidence, though, is clear. "He's very confident, very cocky," Zimmer said. "Likes to jab a little, talk a little bit."

Defensive tackle James Lynch continues to improve, and earned praise from Zimmer as one of the Vikings' biggest surprises of camp. The Vikings have played Lynch at nose tackle after thinking he was going to be a three-technique tackle as a rookie, but "he really didn't have that first-step quickness" last year, Zimmer said. "But he is one of the most improved guys on the team. Playing nose, he has done a great job in camp. He's exceeded my expectations to this point."

The Vikings' Thursday practice was their last one open to fans during camp, though Zimmer said he wished they could stay longer. "I thought it was great these last two days to hear cheers when a guy makes a catch or knocks a ball down, something like that," he said. "We have terrific fans. I hope they're all there [at U.S. Bank Stadium] on Saturday at 3 o'clock, get there early and have a couple of cocktails."