If the Vikings keep only five wide receivers, a popular player, classic overachiever and Minnesota native could be in trouble of not making the final 53-man roster.
So, Adam Thielen, what say you? Will General Manager Rick Spielman keep six receivers or five, as he did last year?
“I have no idea,” said the Detroit Lakes, Minn., native. “It’s not my job.”
In 2013, Thielen made the team’s practice squad as a rookie minicamp tryout invitee from Minnesota State Mankato. Last year, he made the final roster, caught eight passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, and also earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown against Carolina.
The playmaking continued in Saturday night’s 26-16 preseason victory over Tampa Bay when Thielen had catch and runs of 39 yards on third down and 15 yards for a touchdown.
But if the Vikings were to keep only five receivers, they would have a hard time parting with rookie draft pick Stefon Diggs as No. 5 behind Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright and former first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson.
“You just can’t look at stuff like that,” Thielen said. “If you do, you’re not going to perform your best. Just trust that good things will happen if you’re working hard and making plays.”
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner doesn’t make decisions on the final 53, but he did warn against assuming how many players the team will keep at each position based on past years.
“I’ve never been anywhere where it was a set number on offense or defense,” said Turner, in his 31st season as an NFL coach. “I think really you get down to picking a 46-man squad that you would play on Sundays. After that I think you take the best players that are there. If it ends up being more on offense or more on defense, you want to keep the 53 best players. That’s one of the things here we do extremely well.”
Running back Adrian Peterson, who missed two days of practice last week because of a left thigh bruise, returned to practice Monday. He participated in some of the individual drills but stayed on the sideline for the 11-on-11 portion of the fully-padded practice.
Even healthy, Peterson won’t play in a game until the regular season.
Meanwhile, not practicing were cornerback Josh Robinson (pectoral), tight end MyCole Pruitt (ankle), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee), tackle Carter Bykowski (shoulder), safety Antone Exum (undisclosed) and right tackle Phil Loadholt, who is out for the year because of a torn left Achilles’ tendon.
Defensive end Scott Crichton and tight end Brandon Bostick returned to practice Monday. Guard David Yankey and linebacker Anthony Barr also participated in practice after missing Saturday’s game.
Kendricks up to speed
As fast a rookie middle linebacker Eric Kendricks thought the NFL would be, he still considers the speed of the game to be the biggest surprise he’s experienced.
“I feel like the first step is a lot faster,” Kendricks said. “The reactionary thing. Everyone reacts a little faster.”
The undersized Kendricks was drafted primarily for his speed and instincts. In a backup role Saturday night, he had five tackles, two for loss, a pass defense and a sack.
“I was reacting to the ball a lot faster,” said Kendricks, who got some first-team nickel defense reps on Monday.
Kendricks is working on blitz techniques more than at any other point in his playing career.
“I never blitzed a lot in college or high school either,” he said. “There are going to be times that I just have to pass rush. It’s a given. I have to have moves to be able to counter the running backs.”
• Patterson got a snap with the first-team offense Monday. He ran an end around.
• Blair Walsh made seven of eight field goal attempts Monday. He missed from 51 yards.
• Yankey saw some second-team reps behind T.J. Clemmings at right tackle.