By: Daniel House
By: Daniel House
The Vikings hit the practice fields on a cool and breezy afternoon in Mankato, MN. The fans packed the stands and the team was tested in more red zone and situational drills. Teddy Bridgewater threw two interceptions, Moritz Böhringer hauled in a sensational diving catch, and the offensive line shuffle continued during day seven at Vikings training camp.
For more, take a dive inside my practice notebook:
Bridgewater throws a few interceptions
When glancing at a few stats from practice, Teddy Bridgewater's performance again looks deceptively poor. However, he connected down the field for some of his best completions thus far in training camp. He found an open Stefon Diggs on a comeback against Terence Newman. More notably, Diggs ran a beautiful deep crossing route and Teddy hit him in stride. Bridgewater also connected with Charles Johnson on an underneath crossing route and a quick slant to Stefon Diggs in situational work. His two interceptions came off of tipped passes. Brian Robison knocked a pass into the air and linebacker Anthony Barr hauled in another training camp interception. During the second interception, Brian Robison jumped up and intercepted the pass in mid-air as the ball sailed above his head. Many people have been asking about Bridgewater's mechanics and only one throw I watched showed anything poor. He dropped his arm and the ball sailed over the head of Laquon Treadwell who got open on an out over Trae Waynes. Teddy's mechanics appear to be more consistent this year, but there are moments where he reverts back to his old habits. Today, many people will be concerned because Teddy threw two interceptions. However, one of the passes was tipped and that type of play is out of his control. He made some impressive throws up the field and was driving the ball up the field frequently. Two interceptions in team drills shouldn't freak anyone out, especially considering the nature of the throws.
Mobo brings in a diving catch, Johnson continues to get open
The crowd went wild as Moritz Böhringer hauled in a sensational diving catch, beating cornerback Tre Roberson. Roberson had great coverage on the play, but Böhringer used his physicality to haul in the pass. Böhringer also added a nice one-handed grab when the quarterbacks were throwing fades down in the red zone for QB/WR work. Today, he looked more comfortable catching passes, but he still needs to improve as an overall route runner.
Charles Johnson has been getting open on shallow crossers and intermediate routes. Today, he continued to get open on Xavier Rhodes and beat him on a deep crossing route. Johnson had a slight step on Rhodes, but Xavier added a pass defensed later in practice. You can tell both players are starting to know each of their strengths and weaknesses and are exploiting them in practice. The practices with the Bengals will be a good test for both the wide receivers and defensive backs on the roster.
Laquon Treadwell had a drop on a quick slant in the end zone during red zone drills. Waynes was all over him in coverage, but Treadwell couldn't haul in the pass. Treadwell is getting better as a route runner and has a strong skill-set. However, he needs to put all of his skills together and that will take time. Once he does, Treadwell has the chance to be a very special player.
Again, Stefon Diggs is playing incredible. He got open on a deep crossing route, a comeback, and quick slant during various team/red zone drills. Diggs is so gifted athletically and he has now polished his route running to pair with his overall skill-set.
Rudolph looks better as a blocker, Morgan plays as advertised
Tight end Kyle Rudolph stood out in a blocking drill against the linebackers today. He was not allowing pressure and his blocking skills look more fundamentally sound. Rudolph didn't allow any of the linebackers past him. He has openly told reporters that his overall blocking skills were an area of emphasis this offseason. Today, he showed it.
David Morgan is so good as a run blocker. The tape doesn't lie and he continues to show the valuable asset he will be in the Vikings offense. He isn't afraid to play physical and his run blocking fundamentals are pretty impressive. Morgan destroyed Emmanuel Lamur in the drill with the linebackers and Mike Zimmer even told Lamur he needed to get his hands inside better. Morgan is being used all over the field, including the slot, h-back, and at the normal end spot. I talked with him after practice and I will have a story up on him tomorrow.
The offensive line shifts again
For the morning walkthrough and afternoon session, John Sullivan returned to center and T.J. Clemmings played at right tackle. Yesterday, Andre Smith and Joe Berger worked with the usual first-team unit. It is clear the offensive line rotation will continue throughout camp. Mike Zimmer and the coaching staff are doing everything they can to find the best mix.
Today was an average day for the Vikings offensive unit. Matt Kalil allowed just one pressure during the final 11-on-11 sequence. Again, he lost on an edge rushing move by Everson Griffen in team drills. However, he split with Griffen in 1-on-1 drills later in practice. Brandon Fusco laid a beautiful block in the second level for Matt Asiata during running plays in red zone drills. Fusco was held out of 1-on-1 drills and looked as he if may have been injured earlier in practice.
T.J. Clemmings lost a 1-on-1 drill to Brian Robison on an inside rush and Danielle Hunter blew past him in team drills. At center, Joe Berger nicely blocked Linval Joseph in a 1-on-1 drill. His competition, John Sullivan, was put on skates by Linval Joseph later in the same session. Berger had to move to right guard when Fusco didn't practice and he again showed his versatility to contribute at other positions up front.
Aside from the main starters, Jeremiah Sirles played fantastic. He won all but one of his three 1-on-1 battles and perfectly blocked Justin Trattou in red zone team work. Sirles improved after a rough day six of practice. Additionally, Nick Easton had his best day of practice. He won two consecutive battles in 1-on-1 drills against Kenrick Ellis. In red zone work, Easton won three battles against both Toby Johnson and Kenrick Ellis.
Zac Kerin had some trouble in 1-on-1 drills and lost to Toby Johnson. Kerin was also beaten by Shamar Stephen in the team red zone work. Finally, Willie Beavers couldn't handle Toby Johnson at all and Carter Bykowski lost to Stephen Weatherly. As a whole, the second team offensive line looked much better in team drills, but much of their success came against the third team defensive line. The first-team unit still has some consistency problems. However, every day they appear to slightly improve. It is especially the case with young players such as Jeremiah Sirles and Nick Easton.
Robison brings in a sweet interception, Barr adds another pick
Brian Robison hasn't lost his playmaking ability with age. Today, he knocked a pass down and it tipped into the arms of Anthony Barr for an interception. Two plays later, Robison leapt into the air and snagged a Teddy Bridgewater pass. He made an excellent read on the play and hauled in the difficult grab. The Vikings are rotating Danielle Hunter and Tom Johnson into the defensive line and will use all of the capable pass rushers they have; including veteran Brian Robison.
Additionally, linebacker Emmanuel Lamur added an excellent pass defensed in team drills against MyCole Pruitt. He reached across Pruitt and knocked the ball out of his grasp. Lamur continues to show he will be a very capable rotational weakside linebacker with Chad Greenway. Finally, Zach Moore had nice interior pressure on an inside run by Jhurell Pressley. Moore is having a great training camp and is making a strong push for a roster spot among the defensive line.
Price continues to struggle, Johnson beating Newman
Cornerback Jabari Price is not having a good training camp. He is now stacked near the bottom of the depth chart with the third team defense. Price was beaten badly by third-team wide receivers in red zone work and that isn't helping his odds of making the roster. Charles Johnson has been getting the best of Terence Newman, but it has been a good natured battle. Newman is losing battles where receivers beat him off the line of scrimmage with speed. However, he is still winning a vast majority of the battles in coverage. His contributions are still valuable, but one has to wonder whether Trae Waynes will steal the starting role. Today, he was again in position to make plays. Waynes did get called for two penalties in various drills, but he is around the ball and making plays consistently.
Sendejo has a rough day
None of the other safeties jumped out as playing good or bad, but Andrew Sendejo did not play well today. Charles Johnson beat Sendejo over the top on a deep crosser and Adam Thielen scored a touchdown in the red zone period when Sendejo was a step late. Michael Griffin continues to mix into various starting rotations and it seems the coaching staff will continue to shuffle the players at that position throughout the preseason and training camp.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerick McKinnon returned to the practice field in pads, but were both very limited. Rhett Ellison, Mike Harris, and Taylor Heinicke remain out with their injuries.
The Vikings return to the field tomorrow for a morning walkthrough from 10:30am-11:30am and a night practice which starts at 7:15pm and runs until 9:15pm.