DAY @ CAMP
Daily dispatch from Mankato
Setting the scene
It was a sunny afternoon in Mankato with temperatures in the high 70s when the Vikings took the field for the second day of practice at training camp. Players were again in shorts. Sunday, they will have their first padded practice, their first time in pads since their playoff loss.
Coaches and teammates praised quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for displaying improved accuracy on deep balls during spring practices closed to the media. It clearly has carried over into training camp. For the second consecutive day, Bridgewater connected on a strike deep down the field. This time it was veteran slot receiver Jarius Wright running down the middle of the field to get under an accurate pass from Bridgewater that traveled 45 to 50 yards in the air. Friday, Bridgewater hit wideout Stefon Diggs deep.
Running it back
There is no doubt that second-year middle linebacker Eric Kendricks has the talent and instincts to be an excellent pass defender even though he was inconsistent in that area as a rookie. He flashed that potential when he jumped an out route and made a diving interception of a Bridgewater pass intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph. After he rolled to the ground, Kendricks got to his feet and beat Bridgewater to the end zone for a pick-six.
The wheel deal
With top running back Adrian Peterson being held out of team drills for a second straight day, third-year back Jerick McKinnon again got the bulk of first-team reps. His most impressive play Saturday, though, came with the second-stringers when he beat outside linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on a wheel route down the sideline. Backup QB Shaun Hill hit him in stride for an easy touchdown, and McKinnon high-fived a few fans in the end zone.
Zimmer reiterated on Friday that he would continue to look at different combinations along the offensive line. A day later, he had Joe Berger in as the first-team center instead of John Sullivan and second-year lineman T.J. Clemmings swapped in for free-agent addition Andre Smith at right tackle.
“[Matt] Kalil did really good [Friday]. That’s maybe the best I’ve seen him since I’ve been here. It was just one day, but he did some really good things.”
Coach Mike Zimmer offering unsolicited praise for the fifth-year left tackle
Diggs sat out the second half of Saturday’s practice because of what appeared to a leg injury, but he was spotted snagging passes from the JUGS machine afterward. … Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who injured his left shoulder Friday, did not practice. Zimmer said he will be out “a few days.” … In addition to Patterson, QB Taylor Heinicke, TE Rhett Ellison, G Mike Harris, NT Kenrick Ellis and CB Keith Baxter all missed practice again.
• 10:30-11:30 a.m. walk-through
• 2:45-5 p.m. practice