Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 9 Training Camp Notebook: Vikings return to practice after an off-day


The tempo was slightly slower today at Vikings training camp as the Vikings returned to the practice fields following their off-day on Sunday. Daniel House takes you inside practice with his training camp notebook.

Updated: August 8th, 2016 9:45pm

By: Daniel House

The tempo was slightly slower today at Vikings training camp as the Vikings returned to the practice fields following their day off on Sunday. Mike Zimmer made the team do push-ups in the middle of practice and the team got after it before their final day of training camp on Tuesday.

For more, take a look inside my training camp notebook:

Bridgewater does his job, Hill looks average
Teddy Bridgewater wasn't asked to do much during the Vikings' second-to-last practice in Mankato. The offense frequently worked on intermediate crossing routes and short passes out of the backfield. Most notably, Teddy pumped on Justin Trattou and hit Stefon Diggs in the flat for a nice gain. He also found MyCole Pruitt who was taking advantage of the soft spot in the zone. Teddy nailed all but one of the throws he was asked to make today. Defensive end Danielle Hunter was offside and Bridgewater took advantage of the free play. Charles Johnson had a step on Xavier Rhodes, but the ball was slightly overthrown. Aside from that, Bridgewater handled his duties well and got the job done. Bridgewater looks more confident in the system and is taking chances, which is very encouraging to see.

Quarterback Shaun Hill still looks better than he did early in camp, but he still had his fair share of trouble today. He was intercepted by Kentrell Brothers, who adjusted in mid-air on a ball intended for MyCole Pruitt. Brothers has been relatively quiet this training camp but made a nice play on the poor throw. Hill was still overthrowing receivers in QB/WR work, but it wasn't nearly as frequent. He had more velocity on his throws today and appears to be getting a small amount of confidence back.

Joel Stave overthrew Moritz Böhringer near the sideline and nearly hit media member Chris Tomasson in the process. Stave still has plenty of work to do as he prepares for the preseason and that starts with being more consistent.

Pressley destroyed by Toby Johnson
Running back Jhurell Pressley was leveled by Toby Johnson in team drills. Johnson got off of his block and de-cleated Pressley behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson has been making some noise in 1-on-1 drills over the last couple of days. He had two wins on Friday and one today. This run-stop was just another piece of material for Johnson's resume.

Wide receivers tally some drops, Patterson returns
The wide receivers were sloppy today. In WR/DB drills, Charles Johnson got a step on Xavier Rhodes with a quick slant, but he dropped the pass. A few moments later, Johnson dropped another pass on a comeback against Mackensie Alexander. In the same drill, Jarius Wright ran an out and the ball fell through his hands with Melvin White on the coverage. In 7-on-7 drills, Laquon Treadwell got open on Jabari Price, fell down, and dropped the pass. In team drills, Mortiz Böhringer ran a fade up the sideline and Stave placed the ball well, but Böhringer extended and the pass hit his elbow on the way down. Böhringer also got open on Waynes in 7-on-7 drills and dropped the pass. The Vikings wide receiver unit was not nearly as sharp today. However, there were a couple bright spots. Laquon Treadwell had one good contested catch with cornerback Tre Roberson all over him. Stefon Diggs ran a beautiful route to beat Captain Munnerlyn and flashed his speed/footwork in the drill. Diggs continues to be the best target the Vikings have in their offense.

Cordarrelle Patterson returned to the practice field, but was still eased back into participation. He did get open on a nine route up the sideline, but Shaun Hill made a poor throw. Patterson also ran a beautiful corner route. It was a smooth route with a solid head fake, but Shaun Hill elected to dump the pass down to Troy Stoudermire instead. Patterson will see more reps moving forward and will get plenty of time in the preseason to show his skills.

Offensive line depth is tested
Nearly all of the 1-on-1 drills tested the Vikings backup offensive line depth. Jeremiah Sirles had a rough day. He was destroyed by Danielle Hunter twice in 11-on-11 drills and Zach Moore blew by him in team drills. After two solid days of practice, Sirles didn't continue the trend today.

John Sullivan split his reps today against Toby Johnson and Carter Bykowski couldn't handle Danielle Hunter. Zac Kerin was beaten twice by Scott Crichton and Travis Raciti blew past Austin Shepherd. It wasn't a great day for the backup offensive line depth.

However, the first team got the job done. Teddy Bridgewater had a pretty clean pocket and the first team unit was opening up some nice holes in the running game. Brandon Fusco returned to right guard and Andre Smith handled the right tackle duties. Joe Berger shifted into center and really did a great job run blocking. Matt Kalil held up against Everson Griffen and the unit as a whole did a good job. The offense didn't run many deep drops, but on plays where the offensive line had to hold their blocks, they held their own.

Hunter continues to get after it, Crichton flashes in 1-on-1 drills
Defensive end Danielle Hunter destroyed Jeremiah Sirles in 1-on-1 drills and beat T.J. Clemmings twice in team drills. Hunter has pass rushing moves and had them on display for everyone to see. It is incredible how much he has developed over the last year. Last training camp, he was rushing with pure athleticism. This season, he has become polished and more comfortable using his frame/athletic skill-set to his advantage. It seems Hunter will be a force up front when he rotates into the defense.

Scott Crichton destroyed Zac Kerin twice in 1-on-1 drills. He set up Kerin outside and exploded towards the inner portion of the pocket. Crichton hasn't done much thus far in camp, but today he used a nice move to make a splash today.

Rhodes and Waynes look great, Newman not practicing
Xavier Rhodes was all over the field today knocking passes away. Rhodes locked down Laquon Treadwell in 1-on-1 drills twice and added a pass defensed. He was beaten twice on some quick crossers, but it was nothing significant. Rhodes also shut the door on a corner route intended for Stefon Diggs, but may have gotten tangled up with him in the process. Xavier was lobbying for a flag but he didn't get one from the official.

Trae Waynes had another good day at the office. Waynes deflected a pass intended for Marken Michel and added a pass defensed on Mortiz Böhringer. With a solid preseason, Waynes could earn the starting nod. Terence Newman missed today with what defensive coordinator George Edwards called a "nagging injury." It didn't sound serious, but based upon Newman's performance lately, it isn't surprising to hear he may have been battling an injury. Finally, Mackensie Alexander was all over the coverage of a Cordarrelle Patterson fade and didn't allow him to catch the pass. Alexander is more comfortable on defense and has been making plays over the last two practices.

Zimmer asks for push-ups
The tempo got a little slow and head coach Mike Zimmer didn't like it. He had some colorful words for the entire team and made them drop down for push-ups. Zimmer teaches his players discipline and with some slow play, drops, penalties, and a failed 4th-and-20 by the defense, he wasn't happy. After the push-ups, the practice tempo picked up and the players returned to being dialed in like usual.

Locke gets some punting done
Punter Jeff Locke punted about 10 times today and actually didn't look too bad. All of his kicks ranged from about 58-66 yards and they had some nice height. The hang time gave the coverage team plenty of time to get up the field. Locke needs to punt in the preseason, but his performance was very encouraging today.

Vikings release a depth chart
The Vikings released their first official depth chart today and there wasn't many surprises. Jarius Wright was listed as a third-team wide receiver, while Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen were co-second team wide receivers. Andrew Sendejo was the first-team strong safety and Michael Griffin/Anthony Harris were on the second-team. You can view the complete depth chart, by clicking here.

McDermott extended
The Vikings extended long-snapper Kevin McDermott by signing him to a 4-year, $4 million extension. This will ensure the Vikings won't have another highly contested long snapper battle for another four seasons.

Injury Report
Sharrif Floyd, Edmond Robinson, Terence Newman, and Eric Kendricks all missed practice today. Kendricks did participate in the walkthrough, but the others did not. Taylor Heinicke, Mike Harris, and Rhett Ellison remain out as they rehab their injuries on the NFI and PUP lists. Jarius Wright left the afternoon practice with an undisclosed injury.

What's Next? 
The Vikings close out training camp in Mankato with a morning full-padded practice from 8:00-10:00am on Tuesday.

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