EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings pushed through a 94-degree temperature and triple-digit heat index in helmets and shorts Thursday for their second practice of 2023 Vikings Training Camp presented by Omni Viking Lakes Hotel.
Players are scheduled to wear shells under their jerseys on Friday and Saturday. The first practice scheduled to be open to fans will be Saturday’s session.
Although it was just the second day, the competition remained high as the team proceeded through a steady wind that helped minds veer from the heat just a bit. The breeze seemed to affect a few passes.
Minnesota opted to have the offense go into the wind for some team drills and later changed directions.
Not participating: Jalen Nailor, Danielle Hunter and Brian O'Neill did not participate; O'Neill continued his rehab work. Marcus Davenport and D.J. Wonnum took reps with the first team at outside linebacker; Olisaemeka Udoh took reps at right tackle in place of O'Neill.
Here are three observations from Thursday's training camp practice presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Hitman strikes again
Harrison Smith is up to his old tricks.
Just two days into his 12th training camp, The Hitman nabbed another interception.
Smith dropped back, surveyed and collected an early pass from Nick Mullens down the middle of the field.
The defense looked well-versed in what to do after a turnover, quickly changing direction to set up blocks.
Smith has 34 career interceptions in 159 regular-season games and is coming off five in 2022.
2. Contested non-catch
Rookies Jordan Addison and Mekhi Blackmon have been competing at practices for a year.
The former USC Trojans teammates squared off early in their first pro camp.
Kirk Cousins targeted Addison along the right sideline, and the receiver went up to high point the football with one hand, but Blackmon also had two hands on the ball.
Both fought cleanly for the pigskin, but the official ruled that neither secured the catch in bounds.
3. Nickel options
The Vikings appear that they'll offer a couple of versions of nickels.
One version involves a third cornerback, and the other involves a third safety.
When the first-team defense was on the field and the Vikings used three cornerbacks, they had the combination of Byron Murphy, Jr., Akayleb Evans and Joejuan Williams.
The combo with three safeties involved Smith, Camryn Bynum and Josh Metellus.