A daily dispatch from Eagan
Burst of weather accelerates schedule
Lightning forced the Vikings to move their morning walk-through indoors, and with more storms in the afternoon forecast, the team opted to start its afternoon practice an hour earlier so it could stay outdoors. The Vikings conducted their first padded practice in spitting rain, on a day where their decreased depth in the middle of the defensive line was evident. Dalvin Cook ended practice by waltzing into the end zone behind a block from Josh Kline on Hercules Mata’afa, as Jaleel Johnson tried to swat the ball out of his hand at the end of a red-zone drill.
Thielen’s cameo at holder continues
The Vikings have worked Adam Thielen as a holder in individual drills during the first few days of camp, and on Sunday he got his first action on a field goal in an 11-on-11 drill. The Pro Bowl wide receiver was the holder for the first Dan Bailey attempt in a field goal period at the end of practice, putting the ball in place for the kicker before he missed wide right from 33 yards out. Bailey made the final two kicks of the period, with punter Matt Wile holding.
Mattison makes his power presence felt
The Vikings spent a third-round pick on Alexander Mattison, hoping that he can help make up for the loss of Latavius Murray in free agency, and on the Vikings’ first day in pads the physical back didn’t disappoint. He burst through the Vikings’ line for a long touchdown run in the middle of practice and held up better than many of the Vikings’ running backs during pass-protection drills against linebackers.
Former head coaches, Harris in attendance
The Vikings practiced in front of three former NFL head coaches — Hue Jackson, Joe Philbin and Jim Haslett. Jackson and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer worked together in Cincinnati, while Haslett worked as Bengals linebackers coach for former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther (one of Zimmer’s protégés). Former Vikings guard Mike Harris was also in attendance Sunday. Harris, who retired after the 2016 season because of a congenital brain condition, is coaching at Macalester and working for the NFL as a uniform inspector.
“We had to come in this morning because of the lightning. Otherwise, they would have got wet today at the walkthrough.” — Zimmer, making it clear he would not have spared his players from the elements during a morning walkthrough if severe weather hadn’t forced the team inside.
The Vikings remained without the players on the physically-unable-to-perform and non-football injury lists — Mike Hughes, Brandon Zylstra, David Morgan, Shamar Stephen and Tashawn Bower — and nose tackle Linval Joseph again sat out team drills. Wide receiver Jeff Badet did not practice once again, and defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes, who walked off the field with an injury Saturday, didn’t practice Sunday.