3 Observations: Young DBs Make Plays in Final Preseason Practice

EAGAN, Minn. — Put preseason practices in the rearview mirror.

The Vikings held a split-squad practice Tuesday afternoon, their final preseason practice of the summer.

The session was without any expected starters, who instead went through a practice in the morning.

The non-starters who practiced for almost 90 minutes Tuesday spent the first 45 minutes outside before inclement weather brought them to the indoor practice facility at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Mike Hughes, who was removed from the PUP list Monday, went through warmups with the team before working on a side field. Tackles Aviante Collins and Brian O’Neill did not participate in team periods.

The Vikings play at Buffalo on Thursday night in the preseason finale. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. (CT).

Here are three observations from Tuesday afternoon’s session:

1. Plethora of picks

The Vikings defensive reserves made plenty of plays Tuesday, as they picked off five total passes in practice. A trio of them came from defensive backs expected to see extensive action Thursday night.

Sean Mannion had a bit of bad luck on both his interceptions, as the first one bounced off a helmet at the line of scrimmage before rookie safety Marcus Epps corralled it. Mannion’s second interception seemed like a completed pass to Jeff Badet before cornerback Craig James ripped it away from the wide receiver.

Kyle Sloter was also intercepted twice, both times by linebackers, with Kentrell Brothers snagging the first one in an early team session.

Once practice moved inside, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer tabbed Sloter to lead a 2-minute drill, but that drive ended with Devante Downs picking off the quarterback.

Isaiah Wharton also made an athletic play as he leapt up to grab a Jake Browning pass.

2. Mitchell makes plays

Dillon Mitchell made a handful of impressive plays as he tries to make a lasting impression on the coaching staff and front office.

The rookie wide receiver had a leaping touchdown catch on a fade route inside the 10-yard line in the red zone despite strong coverage from cornerback Kris Boyd.

Mitchell had the catch of the day earlier in practice when he slipped between Boyd and Epps to haul in a pass between his legs as he was falling to the ground.

3. Plenty of ST reps

There was a big emphasis on special teams Tuesday, especially with field goals.

Kaare Vedvik attempted nine of them in the session, coming away with five successful attempts. Chad Beebe was the holder for each kick.

Vedvik’s first four kicks came outside, where he missed from 33 and 39 yards before rebounding to hit from 42 and 43 yards.

He then made the first three kicks inside at distances of 37, 44 and 47 yards, but his 51-yard attempt went wide to the right.

Vedvik’s final attempt came even after Downs’ interception of Sloter, as Zimmer had Vedvik kick a 47-yard try with the offense trailing 14-12. His kick was no good.

The Vikings also worked a number of returners in various roles during practice, including Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah at kicker returner.

Those two were also involved in punt returns in an early special teams period in practice, along with Brandon Zylstra, Davion Davis, Mitchell, Holton Hill and De’Angelo Henderson.

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