Advertising

11 Observations from Final Vikings-Jaguars Practice 

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings wrapped up training camp — and joint practices with the Jaguars — in a wet way on Thursday.

The teams began practice outdoors before lightning moved everyone to the indoor practice facility of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center for roughly 45 minutes.

The Vikings and Jaguars then moved back outdoors and finished the last hour of practice in a light rain.

Minnesota and Jacksonville will square off at noon (CT) Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium in the second preseason game for each team.

Here are 11 observations from Thursday’s session:

1-2. Defensive dominance

When the Vikings were on offense … | By @pcraigers

The Vikings trailed 31-28 with 1 minutes and 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the ball on their own 25-yard line. The goal was to at least get in field goal range at the end of regulation.

The first-team offense started ominously with a false start penalty and an eventual third-and-12. Kirk Cousins found Kendall Wright at the chains in the middle of the field for a first down at the 35-yard line. Cousins drilled a throw to Wright on the next play for a significant gain, but the play was negated by a holding penalty. Another penalty followed, creating first-and-20 back at the 25. Cousins was intercepted by D.J. Hayden.

When the Vikings were on defense … | By @Eric_L_Smith

The Vikings led 31-28 with 1 minutes and 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter, with the Jaguars holding the ball on their own 25-yard line. The goal was to get the ball back and run out the clock.

It was the Danielle Hunter show when the first-team defense was on the field. The Jaguars started the drive with a quick 4-yard pass, but that was negated on second down when Hunter was credited with a 5-yard sack on Blake Bortles. The quarterback threw incomplete on third-and-11 before Hunter got past Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson and was credited with another sack of Bortles again to end the drive.

3-6. Defensive highlights | By @Eric_L_Smith

Kearse’s Pick Six

The Vikings second-team defense had quite the day against Jacksonville.

The highlight of the day came from safety Jayron Kearse, who stepped in front of a Cody Kessler pass. Kearse would have returned it 40 yards for an interception.

Johnson’s Fumble Recovery

That came after Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette botched a handoff and the ball was recovered by Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

Pair of PBUs

A pair of defensive backs stood out indoors. Safety Jack Tocho showed good range to get in position to break up a pass on a deep route, and cornerback Marcus Sherels had a solid pass breakup on the sideline in a team drill.

7*. Aruna turns heads _| By_* @Eric_L_Smith

The Vikings used the final pick of the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Ade Aruna, a defensive end from Tulane.

The 24-year-old made a splash against the Jaguars on Thursday as he perfectly read Kessler’s throw to intercept it in a team drill.

Aruna, who had 12 sacks in college, later “sacked” Kessler in an 11-on-11 drill against Jacksonville. Defenders from both teams avoided hitting quarterbacks.

8-10. Offensive recap | By @pcraigers

Pre-snap problems

The Vikings haven’t had many pre-snap issues during camp, but many believe that one is one too many at the NFL level.

Maybe it was all the moving around from outdoors to indoors to outdoors, maybe it was the end of training camp being palpable, maybe it’s a credit to Jacksonville’s strong defense, but the Vikings had more pre-snap issues than they want in a game setting. The good news is that the issues can be used as teachable moments without costing the team when the standings count.

Play-action passes 

The Vikings and Jaguars spent considerable time working on first and second downs.

Cousins’ media session Thursday was loaded with Xs and Os goodness. The quarterback explained that a multitude of factors go into an effective play-action pass.

Minnesota used play action on a nice completion to Thielen during a team period on Thursday.

Almost had it

Cayleb Jones nearly reeled in one of the most impressive catches of the entire camp. With the teams inside, Jones streaked down the left sideline and high-pointed a long toss by Trevor Siemian.

The only problem, however, was that an official ruled that Jones hadn’t secured the football enough to complete the catch before going out of bounds.

Siemian later connected with Jones near the sideline during the situational period, but the second-team offense’s drive stalled thereafter.

11. Juggling the offensive line | By @Eric_L_Smith

The Vikings mixed and matched players on the offensive line due to injuries, as Mike Remmers has returned to practice but has not participated in team drills and Pat Elflein is still on the PUP list. Nick Easton was placed on Injured Reserve earlier this week with a neck injury.

The first-team offensive line consisted, from left to right, of Riley Reiff, Tom Compton, Cornelius Edison, Danny Isidora and Aviante Collins. Rookie Brian O’Neill later took over for Collins, who moved inside a spent some of practice at right guard. Isidora moved to left guard.

The second-team line was, from left to right, Storm Norton, Cedric Lang, Josh Andrews, Colby Gossett and O’Neill.

Advertising