EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings put the pads back on Wednesday as Minnesota practiced for roughly 90 minutes at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Justin Jefferson and Dede Westbrook were limited, as they did not participate in full team drills.
Kene Nwangwu, Patrick Jones II, Cam Smith were not spotted at practice. Tyler Conklin, Christian Darrisaw, Nate Stanley and James Lynch watched practice without pads. Lynch eventually went inside, while Anthony Barr watched the final portion of practice. He remains sidelined with an apparent injury.
The session included a good amount of situational work, including a 2-minute drill, a period with the offense backed against its own end zone and several reps on third-and-1 (details below).
The Vikings will practice again Thursday at the team facility. Minnesota hosts Indianapolis at 7 p.m. Saturday in the second preseason game for both teams.
Here are three observations from Wednesday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Joseph a perfect 4/4 on FGs
Greg Joseph kept up his hot streak Wednesday, as he made all four field goal tries in team drills.
Joseph, now the only kicker on the roster, was good from 33, 38 and 43 yards in team drills. He also hit a 38-yard field goal at the end of a 2-minute drill after Kirk Cousins led the offense to get in field goal range.
With the scored tied at 7 and roughly one minute on the clock Cousins and the offense started at their own 25-yard line. He completed multiple passes to Alexander Mattison, Chad Beebe and K.J. Osborn.
Joseph then stepped up and hit his kick, which would have given the offense a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
Joseph has now made 35 of 41 kicks (85.4 percent) in team drills since training camp began. He was 17 of 20 entering the Aug. 6 practice, but struggled that day with a 1-for-4 performance. Joseph has made his past 17 field goals since that shaky outing.
2. A win for the defense…
Minnesota's defense built off a strong day Tuesday with another impressive session Wednesday.
Perhaps their best performance came when Minnesota's offense was pinned near its own end zone. And if that wasn't a tough enough situation, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer cranked up the crowd noise through speakers to force his offense to go to a silent count.
Dalvin Cook had a pair of runs for little-to-no gain before Irv Smith, Jr., dropped a third-down pass from Cousins that would have moved the chains. On fourth down, he checked it down to Cook that likely would have been short of a first down.
Cousins later had a fourth-down throw to Adam Thielen in the same situation that was off and well-defended by Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Woods.
Chazz Surratt then made perhaps the defensive play of the day, as he picked off a Jake Browning pass and waltzed a few yards into the end zone. Browning's pass was intended for Osborn, but he couldn't hang on. The ball popped into the air, and Surratt snatched it.
Kellen Mond had two reps in the pressure situation and completed his lone pass to Myron Mitchell for six yards on third-and-6. The other rep was a gain of 5 by running back A.J. Rose, Jr.
3. … and a win for the offense
The offense soon responded, however, in a situation that was more favorable for that unit.
Zimmer had his offense run six straight plays when it was third-and-1, and the unit converted five of them.
Cook and C.J. Ham picked up first downs on the ground before Cousins found Smith for a short gain. Ihmir Smith-Marsette then moved the chains on a sweep before an Ameer Abdullah reception also moved the sticks.
Rose was stuffed for a negative run on the sixth attempt to convert.