The Vikings have been practicing for a full week now as 2014 Verizon Vikings Training Camp continues in Mankato. Practice No. 7 was held on Friday and the warm weather and sunny skies continued. Vikings fans continued to pack the bleachers, as well, and it’s fair to expect a huge crowd for Saturday night’s practice, which will be held under the lights at Blakeslee Stadium.
Practice No. 7 was a typical two hour workout and the team conducted it in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets. As he did on Thursday with Adrian Peterson, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer allowed for some downtime for a couple of veterans on Friday, namely Chad Greenway and Greg Jennings. Both were in uniform and participating to some degree, but both saw reduced reps. Zimmer acknowledge with reporters after practice that he wanted to make sure he was taking care of the veterans.
Here are a few more things you should know from Practice No. 7 at Vikings training camp…
-- Anthony Barr doesn’t get as much attention as fellow first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater, but there aren’t many players performing as well as Barr on the field. He had more flashes of that first-round talent on Friday, so much so that it’s beginning to look less and less like flashes and more and more like an outstanding body of work and a standard of play that will help improve the Vikings defense.
-- Cordarrelle Patterson was the best player on the field during the early part of practice. He made impressive catches on a sideline route after a tipped pass by Kendall James, then he secured a pass on a bubble screen that caused him to contort his body and he caught a quick slant that was behind him and turned it into a would-be 1st down.
-- To help hammer home the message of finishing plays, Zimmer employed the assistance of a new sideline clock and air horn. The clock was set to five seconds during some team periods, and the horn would sound after the expiration of the five seconds. Zimmer explained to reporters after practice the technique is aimed at pushing players to play through the whistle.
-- The fatigue that comes naturally after being at training camp for seven days is creeping into the picture. While meeting with reporters after practice on Friday, Zimmer credited his team for their effort but also acknowledged there was some sloppy play from time-to-time. With how competitive this camp has been, though, it’s fair to expect the opposite result on Saturday night after the team gets most of the day to rest and recuperate and then practices under lights in the evening.
-- Both Kurt Coleman and Derek Cox had interceptions on Friday. Cox has made big plays in consecutive practices and also splashed in Monday night’s practice. Zimmer says Cox appears to be getting comfortable with his technique and is also a smart player. Cox appears to be at his best in press/physical coverage when he can keep the defender in front of him and read routes to break on passes.
-- The liberal rotations at linebacker and safety continue. Brandon Watts some action with the first team base defense and Mistral Raymond ran with the first team opposite Harrison Smith.
-- Robert Blanton and Josh Robison sat out of practice. Marcus Sherels saw the bulk of the first team reps in place of Robinson.
-- Defensive tackle Linval Joseph got his big paws up for another pass breakup at the line of scrimmage. This was at least the fourth time Joseph has broken up a play that way, illustrating his craftiness and ability to impact a passing play even if he doesn’t get to the quarterback in time.
-- Zimmer was mic’d up by Vikings Entertainment Network for Practice No. 7. Stay tuned for related content on our various platforms.