SETTING THE SCENE: There was a packed house at Blakeslee Stadium for the first night practice of camp. Every spot in the bleachers was spoken for despite the 80-degree weather when practice opened at 7:15 p.m. It was a spirited practice. Then the majority of fans stayed until the end to watch the players get introduced and to see the annual fireworks display.
THE MARYLAND CONNECTION: Shaun Hill and Stefon Diggs missed each other by a decade at Maryland, but the two former Terps are forming quite the connection. Diggs made a few really nice plays. He outmuscled Marcus Sherels for a touchdown on a fade in the end zone and he made a diving catch over the middle in the two-minute drill near the end of practice. The nicest play, though, came when Hill floated a 40-yard touchdown to Diggs. It was a wobbler, but the pass had a pretty arc and was on the money.
WAYNES WITH THE ONES: Top pick Trae Waynes got some run with the first team yesterday. He got even more action tonight. When the Vikings were in their nickel, Waynes lined up at left cornerback and Terence Newman moved inside to cover the slot receiver. Meanwhile, Captain Munnerlyn, a starter and the slot guy last season, stood and watched as Waynes broke up one pass with tight, physical coverage on Jarius Wright.
IN THE ZONE: At the first night practice a year ago, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, then a rookie, got suckered into an interception in the red zone by veteran linebacker Chad Greenway. This year, Teddy took care of the ball. He was 3-for-7 in the red zone; one incompletion was a throwaway. Most importantly, he threw two TD passes — one to Charles Johnson and another to Wright — and zero interceptions in two red-zone periods.
BACK IN A FLASH: There is no tackling in these practices, but that didn’t stop the fans from going nuts whenever Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff, as if he was scoring a 105-yard touchdown every time. There was one return, though, that Patterson might have taken to the house. He busted loose down the left sideline thanks to a block from Zach Line.
WALSH WIDE TWICE: Kicker Blair Walsh made his first five field-goal attempts tonight, including one from 49 yards. In doing so, he made it 13 straight successful tries to open camp. But then special teams coordinator Mike Priefer asked him to boot a couple from beyond 50 yards. The first one, from 51, went wide left. The second kick, from 53? Wide left, too.
GOTTA GO: Center John Sullivan bolted practice early, but he had a pretty good excuse. His wife, Ariel, went into labor. Good luck to the Sullivans.
TICK TOCK: The Vikings gave the fans a treat near the end of practice by putting both the starters and second-stringers through the two-minute drill. Bridgewater went 5-for-8 and connected with Johnson to get the offense to the fringe of field-goal range with six seconds left. Hill and the second-team offense advanced further, getting to the 13-yard line after a 29-yard catch by Adam Thielen. Hill threw four straight incompletions, though, the final one batted down by defensive end Justin Trattou at the line.
CAMP CHATTER: “He’s showing what it takes to be able to play in this league and we’re glad to have him.” — Bridgewater on Diggs’ big night.
INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Josh Robinson got some company on the sideline tonight. Running back DuJuan Harris, wide receiver Gavin Lutman and offensive tackle Carter Bykowski all sat out the practice.