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3 Observations: Vikings Focus on Finishing in 4th Quarter

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings were back to work Sunday with a nearly two-hour practice indoors at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

The team was missing a handful of players due to presumptive positive COVID tests, which was announced by Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Sunday morning. Zimmer said 12 "presumptive positive" tests, which are being investigated at a New Jersey-based testing lab, sidelined eight players, one coach and three staff members.

ESPN's Courtney Cronin issued a pool report from the session and noted: Dillon Mitchell, Alexander Hollins, C.J. Ham, Eric Kendricks, Ezra Cleveland, Kenny Willekes, Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Jalyn Holmes were not at practice. Assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken also was not present on Sunday, Cronin reported.

Zimmer had his team practice indoors due to hot and muggy weather conditions. Minnesota will be back in pads for Monday's practice.

Here are three observations from Sunday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Focusing on the 4*th* quarter

Zimmer said Sunday that the Vikings would play out the final 10 minutes of a fourth quarter, and they did so in the final period of practice.

The game-like situation was as close to real action as the team has had in camp, and was likely a vital learning tool for players as they approach the 2020 season with no preseason games.

Minnesota practiced both punt and kickoff coverage at nearly full-speed, while the first and second-team offense and defense went against each other in a simulated game.

Both offenses went three-and-out to start the situation, but Kirk Cousins got in a groove and led his offense on a 60-plus-yard scoring drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal from Dan Bailey.

While that kick put the first team up 17-14, Bailey tied the game a few minutes later with a 53-yard try with a minute remaining.

The Vikings kicker is now 12-for-12 on field goals in team drills so far in camp.

2. Tip to touchdown

Zimmer also had the Vikings spend a good portion of practice working on third downs and in the red zone.

Justin Jefferson had a big gain on a third-down screen pass, while Bisi Johnson had a few noticeable catches as well.

Adam Thielen had perhaps the catch of the day on a third-down play in the red zone, as he corralled a tipped ball in the back of the end zone before falling to the ground.

Zimmer, who was just a few feet away from Thielen, turned into a referee and signaled the touchdown.

3. Tracking the backup QBs

Sean Mannion is one of three quarterbacks fighting for a roster spot behind Kirk Cousins, and the former third-round pick had an impressive showing Sunday.

Mannion, who was Minnesota's backup quarterback in 2019, showed great arm strength and awareness, especially in the red zone.

He is one of four total quarterbacks on the roster, along with Cousins, Jake Browning and rookie Nate Stanley.

Browning took second-team reps in the aforementioned fourth-quarter situation and led the offense on the scoring drive that included the 53-yarder from Bailey.