MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings wrapped up training camp at TCO Performance Center on Thursday with the second of two joint practices against the Denver Broncos.
The first dress rehearsal for the Vikings comes Saturday afternoon, as they host the Broncos in the first preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium. It will be the first time thousands of fans will get to watch the Vikings in person in nearly two years. They up to 4,000 fans at 14 training camp practices.
Mike Zimmer is hoping to see a full stadium on Saturday, even if it’s an exhibition.
"I thought it was great these last two days to hear cheers when a guy makes a catch or a guy knocks a ball down, something like that. We have terrific fans, I hope they’re all there on Saturday," Zimmer said after practice. "Get there early and have a couple cocktails. Are those bars still open across the street? They need to open them. I’ll stop in after."
Here are a few observations from the final day of training camp:
- Anthony Barr and Mackensie Alexander appeared to get a veteran day, standing and watching practice in sweats. Danielle Hunter and Justin Jefferson were not in pads, and Christian Darrisaw was not at practice after reports that he had a minor core procedure done Thursday morning in Pennsylvania.
- The highlights of the day came within seconds of each other with the teams using two fields at the same time for red zone drills. Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen over the middle for a touchdown. Seconds later, Eric Kendricks made a diving interception on Teddy Bridgewater.
- At the end of practice, Jake Browning led a two-minute drill from their own 25-yard line that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-long to Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who did a touchdown dance and was mobbed by teammates.
- Thursday’s workout got chippy at times,with at least three skirmishes. One featured Garrett Bradbury and Bradley Chubb.
DARRISAW HAS MINOR CORE PROCEDURE
The Vikings travel to Cincinnati in exactly a month for Week 1, and they don’t know if first round pick Christian Darrisaw will be available. According to NFL Network, Darrisaw was in Pennsylvania on Thursday to have a minor core procedure done, after he’s already had groin surgery in the offseason.
The hope is he’s the starting left tackle on Sept. 12 against the Bengals.
"That’s what the doctors say but I don’t know. It was taken care of in January or something. We didn’t expect this," Zimmer said. "He only practiced a couple days and it’s been bothering him, I don’t know."
In his absence, Rashod Hill is getting a majority of the snaps at tackle.
"We’ve been cautious with him, taking it slow. But when he’s back, we’ll take him. Otherwise getting a lot of extra work for Rashod Hill," offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said.
DALVIN COOK TALKS GETTING COLLEGE DEGREE
Most would agree that Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the NFL, but now he’s a college graduate. Cook posted a picture to social media last week with a cap and gown on, and degree from Florida State.
Cook completed classes online and earned a degree in social science.
"It was like a promise that I made to myself. A commitment that I stuck to and just setting that example for young kids back home," Cook said. "My brother, he’s still in school. My sister is still in school so setting that example for them of starting something and finishing it."
ANDRE PATTERSON EXCITED FOR MICHAEL PIERCE’S POTENTIAL
The Vikings knew they were getting a run-stopper when they signed defensive tackle Michael Pierce two years ago. He’s showing in training camp he can consistently put pressure on the quarterback, and it has Andre Patterson, the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, beaming about his potential.
"You see it in 1-on-1 pass rush, you can see that he has some quick edge to edge to him. The first time he did it in 1-on-1 pass rush, I grabbed him and said, ‘Hey man, don’t ever let anybody tell you can’t rush the passer.’ On the first rep, he just took the guy back and walked him on the quarterback’s feet. Second rep he went right by him, I was surprised," Patterson said. "That’s very unique to have a guy that’s 340 pounds that can show the quickness in spurts. I never saw that on tape. That’s a big thing for a big man to have."
After nearly three weeks of training camp, the Vikings get live reps in a preseason game Saturday afternoon.