EAGAN, Minn. — We’re on to minicamp.
The Vikings kicked off a mandatory, three-day minicamp Tuesday morning by practicing in helmets and shorts for approximately two hours at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
The session was Minnesota’s first of three practices this week, all of which are open to the media.
The Vikings held 10 Organized Team Activity practices over the past few weeks in Eagan. Training camp begins in late July at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Here are three observations from Tuesday’s session:
1. Securing the win
The Vikings were the NFL’s top defense in 2017, leading the league in points allowed and yards allowed while also holding opponents to the lowest third-down conversion rate.
The unit proved itself yet again Tuesday by holding Minnesota’s offense out of the end zone in a last-second situation.
The offense trailed 23-17 with 12 seconds left as they faced third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, but safety Anthony Harris forced a fourth-down play with strong coverage on tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer threw off the offense was burning a timeout, and then watched his defense hold on for the pseudo win as quarterback Kirk Cousins’ fourth-down attempt fell incomplete.
2. Back-and-fourth battles
There was plenty of individual competition earlier in practice, too, as wide receivers and tight ends went up against cornerbacks and safeties in the red zone.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes picked off a Cousins’ attempt to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, but the pair later responded by connecting for a touchdown in front of the All-Pro.
Adam Thielen had a pair of nifty touchdown catches on cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Mike Hughes, and Rudolph had a fantastic one-handed grab against safety Jack Tocho.
Safety Jayron Kearse made a pair of nice plays.
3. Practice makes perfect
The Vikings proved in the Divisional round of the playoffs against New Orleans that teams sometimes need every second of the clock to secure a win.
(In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what happened.)
Minnesota’s offense practiced such situations Tuesday so that they’re prepared in late-game situations.
Rudolph was on the receiving end of a Cousins’ Hail Mary attempt, and the combination of Diggs, Thielen and Rudolph ran a play that looked eerily similar to “The Minneapolis Miracle.”