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3 Observations: Vikings Get Plenty of Red Zone Work During OTAs

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings continued the second week of Organized Team Activity practices on Wednesday morning.

Minnesota practiced for roughly 90 minutes in the indoor facility of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, doing so in helmets and shorts.

The session was Minnesota’s second of three practices this week, but the only one open to the media.

The Vikings are scheduled to have five more practices throughout OTAs, which run through early June. The Vikings will then hold a mandatory minicamp from June 14-16.

Here are three observations from Wednesday’s session:

1. Lots of red zone work

The Vikings offense ranked ninth in the red zone in 2017 by scoring touchdowns on 57.9 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line.

Minnesota worked extensively on red zone drills Wednesday, with a play by Viking quarterback Kirk Cousins drawing the biggest reaction of the day.

The Vikings first-team offense lined up inside the 5-yard line as Cousins looked left and right. With nobody open, Cousins darted up the middle and dove across the goal line in celebratory fashion.

Cousins also threw a touchdown pass later on in another red zone session as he connected with wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who bodied away cornerback Horace Richardson.

Quarterback Trevor Siemian later found running back Mack Brown for a score.

2. O-line combinations

The Vikings won’t have the same starting five offensive linemen from last year’s season opener.

Joe Berger’s retirement this offseason guaranteed that, but most of the linemen who played a considerable amount of snaps are back, and they lined up with the first team on Wednesday.

Riley Reiff was at left tackle while Danny Isidora and Tom Compton split time at left guard. Nick Easton was at center as Pat Elflein continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery. Mike Remmers lined up at right guard while Rashod Hill was at right tackle.

The second-team line consisted of left tackle Aviante Collins next to Isidora or Compton at right guard. Josh Andrews and Cornelius Edison both played center. The Vikings lined up a pair of rookies on the right side as Colby Gossett was at guard and Brian O’Neill was at tackle.

The third-team line was made up of left tackle Dieugot Joseph, left guard Chris Gonzalez, Andrews, right guard Cedrick Lang and right tackle Storm Norton.

3. Man advantage

The Vikings rolled out a unique passing drill Wednesday as they gave the defense a man advantage.

If Minnesota’s offense consisted of a running back and wide receiver going out for passes, the defense had a linebacker and two defensive backs in coverage.

And if there were three route runners for the offense, the defense countered with four men in coverage.

The drill led to increased intensity and competition as the defense tried to use the man advantage to combat not knowing what the offense was running.

Wide receiver Jake Wieneke made a nice grab in front of cornerback Xavier Rhodes before Richardson broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Cayleb Jones.

Linebacker Antwione Williams then made sure Wieneke couldn’t haul in a pass and cornerback Marcus Sherels batted down a ball, before tight end Kyle Rudolph closed out the drill by getting wide open in the middle of the field on a veteran move against linebacker Brett Taylor.

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