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3 Observations: Vikings Work on Run Defense

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings returned to the practice field Sunday afternoon at Winter Park, two days removed from a 17-16 win over Cincinnati in Minnesota's preseason opener.

The Vikings practiced for almost two hours as they began getting ready for Thursday's preseason game in Seattle.

Sunday's practice was Minnesota's first session at Winter Park since nearly two months ago when the team held its mandatory minicamp in June.

Here are three observations from Sunday's practice:

1. Responding with a vengeance

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer wasn't too pleased with his team's defense Thursday, saying the unit had a long way to go to get to where he wants them.

Zimmer said the Vikings added "a little bit more work" on the run game.

A handful of Vikings defenders would have had likely tackles for loss in team drills, as defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, safety Harrison Smith, linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Jayron Kearse all had noticeable plays swarming to the ball.

"They looked good, they flew around pretty good today," Zimmer said.

2. Strong day for Walsh

Blair Walsh got his preseason started off on the right foot Thursday as he made a 51-yard field goal and added a pair of successful PAT attempts.

The Vikings kicker was perfect again during a special teams session on Sunday as he nailed all seven field goal tries and also a PAT attempt.

Walsh's PAT attempt came in the middle of the field, but his other tries varied from the left or right hashmark. Walsh's seven successful field goals ranged from 34 yards to 52 yards, with three coming from the left hashmark and four coming from the right hashmark.

Walsh also looked good on the kickoff portion of practice, using a high, arching kick a couple of times to pin kick returners near the goal line and make them think twice about bringing the ball out.

3. Shuffling the deck

The Vikings are still tinkering with various offensive line combinations as they prepare for the Seahawks. While left tackle Matt Kalil and left guard Alex Boone have been mainstays at their position since training camp, there have been alternations at center and right tackle.

John Sullivan and Joe Berger have duked it out at center, with Sullivan at the position Sunday. Berger lined up at right guard with Brandon Fusco sidelined. 

Right tackle T.J. Clemmings was with the first-team offense Sunday. Andre Smith, who started against Cincinnati, took reps with the next unit.

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