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3 Observations: Vikings Prepare for Preseason Debut at U.S. Bank Stadium

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings continued their week of practice Thursday at Winter Park in preparation for their preseason home debut this weekend.

Minnesota opened practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, but shed the shoulder pads midway through the nearly two-hour session.

The Vikings split their first two preseason games, both on the road, but will square off against San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium at 7 p.m. (CT) on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Here are three observations from Thursday's session:

1. Home sweet home

It's no secret that U.S. Bank Stadium is one of the loudest venues in the league and a headache for opposing offenses to play in.

But the intense crowd noise also means the Vikings defense has to tune out the roar.

The Vikings defense got a small sample of what Sunday will be like as crowd noise was blasted out through a speaker at Thursday's practice.

Minnesota's offense, meanwhile, won't have to deal with crowd noise but were still thrown a challenge Thursday because of the speakers.

2. A stable of youngsters

The Vikings tight ends group was down to four players Thursday as Kyle Rudolph and Nick Truesdell did not practice.

That meant second-year tight end David Morgan was the most experienced player available, followed by Kyle Carter, Bucky Hodges and Josiah Price.

Carter might have had the catch of the day when he leapt up and made an acrobatic grab despite strong coverage from safety Harrison Smith.

"We've got a young room with Rudy being the oldest guy," Morgan said. "I'm the second-oldest guy, and I'm in Year 2. We have a lot of youth in that room, so it's definitely time for some of us to step up and be ready to contribute."

3. Blitz!

It wasn't the most ferocious pass rush the Vikings quarterbacks have ever felt, but it was good practice nonetheless. 

During a special teams portion of practice, the four Vikings quarterbacks headed to the next field over.

If Sam Bradford stood in the pocket, teammates Case Keenum, Taylor Heinicke, Mitch Leidner and assistant equipment manager Terrell Barnes feigned a pass rush as Bradford maneuvered through traffic in the pocket.

Each quarterback took their turn escaping the rush.

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