A daily dispatch from Eagan
Sound practice plan
The Vikings turned up the volume during Tuesday’s eighth padded session of training camp. Speakers stacked onto each other weighed down the back of a utility vehicle, which drove around the north end zone. Pump-up music blasted during warmups. Then, recorded crowd noise reverberated over the field during 11-on-11 sessions, distracting players in preparation for Friday’s preseason opener in New Orleans. Perhaps tight end Kyle Rudolph, who returned to practice Tuesday, will get some playing time against the Saints after missing three practices because of a “minor” lower-body injury, according to coach Mike Zimmer. A sparse crowd, including actor Woody Harrelson and U.S. Rep. Angie Craig from Minnesota, was treated to 83 degrees and sunny skies.
Three of the Vikings’ four quarterbacks threw at least one interception, starting when cornerback Craig James corralled a deep Jake Browning pass intended for receiver Jeff Badet. Defenders celebrated the most when defensive end Stephen Weatherly tipped a Sean Mannion pass at the line of scrimmage, leading to linebacker Reshard Cliett’s interception ending a red-zone drill. One of Kirk Cousins’ final team drills halted when receiver Brandon Zylstra bobbled a pass into an interception by cornerback Trae Waynes. Waynes later ended Cousins’ hurry-up drill by deflecting a fourth-down pass intended for receiver Stefon Diggs.
Have a cone, coach
Defenders dominated the 1-on-1 pass rushing drills, too. So much so, when Danielle Hunter unleashed a speed rush to the outside of tackle Rashod Hill, he turned the corner and scooped up the cone representing the quarterback. Hunter then handed the cone to the nearest coach and walked back to his side of the drill. Backup nose tackle Jaleel Johnson had a pair of impressive rushes against center Garrett Bradbury, who was pushed into the backfield by Johnson a couple of times.
The second-string offense, led by Mannion, fared better in the Vikings’ situational hurry-up drill that ends practice every day. After the starters were extinguished in six plays and fewer than 20 yards, Mannion led a nine-play drive to around the opponents’ 30-yard line. Mannion then misfired to receiver Laquon Treadwell and overthrew Zylstra, who was covered tightly by cornerback Holton Hill, on fourth down, giving the defense the win.
“He looked quick, though.” – An overheard fan remarking on defensive end Everson Griffen’s speed when the veteran jumped early and drew an offsides penalty.
Tackle Brian O’Neill missed his first practice after suffering a right arm injury during Monday’s session. Tackle Aviante Collins sat out of his fourth practice because of a leg injury. Defensive end Ade Aruna has been sidelined a week because of an undisclosed injury. Defensive tackles Linval Joseph (shoulder) and Shamar Stephen (undisclosed) are still being held out of team drills. Tight end David Morgan and cornerback Mike Hughes remain on the PUP list and have not practiced.