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5 From No. 5: Night Practice to Prepare Vikings for Prime Time

MANKATO, Minn. — Teddy Bridgewater is ready to practice under the lights.

The Vikings quarterback stepped to the podium after the Vikings walk-through Thursday morning and he noted that he looking forward to Saturday night's practice at Blakeslee Stadium.

"The fans will be here, and it's night time," Bridgewater said. "You get the feel for being on a big stage and being in prime time, so we want to just come out and give the fans something worth seeing."

It's no secret that the Vikings will play games in front of bigger audiences this season.

Minnesota's selection for four prime time games as well as being Detroit's Thanksgiving Day opponent means that the Vikings will featured in at least five national broadcasts in the regular season.

The Vikings are slated to play one game on Sunday Night Football, two on Monday Night Football, and one on Thursday Night Football.

Bridgewater wants to bring the same intensity Saturday night that he's seen from his team so far to give the fans a practice worth watching in a different setting.

"We want to keep up the tempo that we have developed so far these four days in the camp with pads on," Bridgewater said. "The guys have been flying around playing fast, and that's what we want to do Saturday night."

Here are four more topics of note from No. 5's press conference:

Scuffles encourage aggressive mindset

The Vikings practiced for the second time back in pads on Monday, and Head Coach Mike Zimmer increased the intensity.

A goal-line drill between the offense and defense had players amped up.

"I think about the other day that we did goal line and we had the big scuffle in the end zone," Bridgewater said. "It was great, the practice went on and the defense competed and the offense competed. It just made that day a special day."

The competitiveness in the 23-year-old makes him want to be a part of it all.

"Me, I love it," Bridgewater added. "I wish that I could get involved but I can't with the red jersey on. It's great to see that the guys have the physicality, that mindset and that attitude."

At the same time Bridgewater recognized his team has to be disciplined heading into the upcoming joint practices with Cincinnati and preseason games.

"Sometimes you need that in practice. It sets the tone and it sets the tempo. As long as it's within our team and doesn't go any further than that, it's going to continue to bring attitude to this team," Bridgewater said.

Defense forcing turnovers

One of the points that Coach Zimmer has been stressing for his defense is to create more turnovers allowing more opportunities for the offense.

Bridgewater has thrown a number of passes so far in Mankato and he has noticed the difference.

"That's one of Coach Zimmer's messages to the defense. Those guys are definitely trying to create turnovers, disrupt passing lanes and be physical on the outside wide receivers."

Charles Johnson, 'a complete pro'

Charles Johnson was the Vikings leading wide receiver in 2014.

Last season, Johnson struggled with injuries and due to the emergence of Stefon Diggs and the Vikings depth at wide receiver, he didn't see as many snaps on offense.

Johnson's quarterback has acknowledged his work ethic.

"He's come out and he's worked every day. He's a complete pro, and that's what we want from the guys. To show up to work each day and want to get better. We have a group of guys who want to be great, and you add in their work ethic, talent and skill sets and it's only going to make them a better player."

Patterson and McKinnon present

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and RB Jerick McKinnon were both present at the morning walk-through Thursday.

Bridgewater has taken notice that his team as a whole is healthy heading into the last few practices in Mankato.

"It was great just having those guys' presence in the walk-through today," Bridgewater said. "We're going to need all of the guys as the season goes on. As long as we keep the guys healthy, it'll be great for us."

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