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3 Observations: Easton. Elflein and Berger Man Interior of Vikings O-Line

Posted Aug 16, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings on Wednesday held their final full team practice before Friday night’s preseason game in Seattle.

Minnesota practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts for almost two hours outside on the Winter Park practice fields.

The Vikings will travel to Seattle on Thursday before kicking off against the Seahawks at 9 p.m. (CT) the next night at CenturyLink Field.

Here are three observations from Wednesday’s session:

1. Finding five (for now)

The offensive line that starts against Seattle isn’t necessarily the unit that will open the season together in Week 1.

Left tackle Riley Reiff is working his way back into the mix. He and Rashod Hill took first-team reps while the rest of the first-team line included Nick Easton at left guard, rookie Pat Elflein at center, Joe Berger at right guard and Mike Remmers at right tackle. Alex Boone did not practice Wednesday.

But with Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff getting worked back into the mix and left guard Alex Boone missing practice again, Minnesota’s line appears set for Seattle.

Hill also spent time at second-team left tackle and line d up next to left guard Jeremiah Sirles, center Zac Kerin, right guard Danny Isidora and right tackle Willie Beavers

Aviante Collins (left tackle), T.J. Clemmings (left guard), Kerin, Austin Shepherd (right guard) and Reid Fragel (right tackle) rounded up the third group.

2. Second teamers get their shot

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer added a twist to his daily situational drill at the end of practice.

With the second-team offense and defense likely to play a good amount of Friday’s game, Zimmer threw both units into the scenario instead of the starters.

The offense needed a touchdown as they took over on their own 45-yard line with 90 seconds left with one timeout.

Quarterback Case Keenum moved the chains by connecting with fullback C.J. Ham, wide receivers Stacy Coley and Jarius Wright and tight end Kyle Carter to get the ball to the opponent’s 25-yard line.

A false start and a sack forced the offense into a fourth-and-8 situation, but Keenum and the offense picked up a first down with a throw beyond the sticks. Keenum spiked the ball at the 15-yard line with two seconds left, leaving time for one last pass into the end zone that was knocked away by safety Anthony Harris to preserve the win.

Zimmer said he wanted to give the backups a chance to play in a pressure situation.

“It was a 2-minute drill, and they hadn’t had very many (reps) today,” Zimmer said.

3. QBs (and their coach) take aim

Vikings quarterbacks took a brief moment at practice during kickoff returns to have a fun competition.

Sam Bradford, Keenum and Taylor Heinicke tried to throw passes into a 55-gallon trash can at the front corner of the end zone from more than 30 yards — a challenge tougher than most games at the fair and without giant teddy bears or inflatable Sriracha bottle as prizes.

While no one sank a football into the bottom of the can, several passes came within a footstep.

Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski garnered high fives from the QBs when his lone pass attempt hit the front of the can and knocked it over.