Mike Zimmer issued a challenge to the offense. The Vikings head coach walked behind quarterback Kirk Cousins as the starters prepared to walk through some red-zone work Wednesday during the June minicamp.
Defenders didn’t yet share the same field. At this point, reserve offensive players stood in place as a faux barrier. Still, Zimmer belted out “let’s score today! Touchdowns!”
Cousins answered the challenge, once the Vikings defense arrived for the initial 11-on-11 red-zone period of practice.
Touchdown throws to receiver Stefon Diggs and tight end Kyle Rudolph were followed up by a Cousins’ “boo-yah!” and an enthusiastic fist pump. The offense won that drill.
Then the defense got him back. During the final red-zone session, linebacker Anthony Barr made a leaping interception as Cousins tried to find Rudolph in the end zone.
“Boo-yah!” defensive end Brian Robison yelled at the offense.
Here are some more observations from Day 2 of Vikings minicamp:
–Watch for the Vikings to move Barr around the defense a little bit more this season. Barr is working on his pass-rush maneuvers with defensive linemen during practice and aligning as a stand-up edge rusher with certain packages. Barr has 10.5 sacks in four NFL seasons.
–Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson jumped in for Sheldon Richardson as the starting defensive tackle for some plays. Johnson, a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Iowa, may be a critical component to the Vikings’ rotation, especially as rookie Jalyn Holmes nurses a broken right hand suffered in OTAs. The Vikings lost DTs Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen in free agency.
–The Cousins-to-Laquon Treadwell connection remained alive on Wednesday. Cousins found the third-year receiver on a deep ball over cornerbacks Holton Hill and Craig James. Treadwell has caught the ball well this spring while lining up as the third receiver.
–Terence Newman continues to work at safety, but on Wednesday he did so wearing starter Andrew Sendejo’s No. 34 jersey. The two swapped jerseys at the start of practice. Sendejo, who has been sidelined all spring with an undisclosed injury, was able to walk through some practice sessions (sans helmet) with his fellow defenders. Jayron Kearse and Newman rotated next to Harrison Smith during this practice.
–Linebacker Eric Wilson got some work with the starters in a certain package that has him filling the third linebacker spot still occupied by Ben Gedeon in the base defense. Wilson is entering his second NFL season after being a special teams contributor as an undrafted rookie.
–Rookie Mike Hughes deflected a pass while lined up as the left corner in team drills. Hughes, this year’s 30th-overall pick, jumped a route by undrafted receiver Jake Wieneke to bat the ball away. Hughes remains busy this spring for the Vikings, working in the slot, at outside cornerback and fielding kickoffs and punts alongside veteran returner Marcus Sherels.