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5 Observations: Vikings WRs, DBs Battle in Competitive Practice

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings held a two-hour practice Sunday afternoon at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

It will be the last non-padded practice for a while, as the team is scheduled to practice in full pads starting Monday.

Minnesota had 78 of the 80 players on its roster on the field. Defensive end Danielle Hunter did not practice. Neither did linebacker Ben Gedeon, who is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List.

Here are five observations from Sunday's session:

1. WRs, DBs get competitive

The best battles of Sunday's session took place between the wide receivers and cornerbacks, featured plenty of intensity on both sides of the ball.

Third-year cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Holton Hill, the first-teamers when just two corners were on the field, both notched pass breakups against rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson in practice. (Jefferson ran with the first-team at times offense on Sunday).

Hughes later shifted into the slot when three cornerbacks took the field, as Cameron Dantzler took reps on the outside. Rookie corner Jeff Gladney, who returned after missing Friday's session, also lined up in the slot but also spent time on the outside.

Marks Fields II also had a nice breakup on a pass intended for wide receiver Alexander Hollins, a play that drew big cheers from the Vikings defensive players on the sideline.

Nate Meadors was at safety for Sunday's practice and recorded an interception against Jake Browning in a passing drill.

2. Reshuffled D-line steps up

The Vikings first-team defensive line looked different than Friday's session, with Hunter watching on Sunday. Shamar Stephen returned after missing Friday's session.

The Vikings first-team line consisted of Ifeadi Odenigbo and Jalyn Holmes at defensive end, while Stephen and Jaleel Johnson were at defensive tackle.

Armon Watts and Hercules Mata'afa were on the interior with the second-team defense, while Eddie Yarbrough and Anthony Zettel were at ends.

Johnson showed up against the run in Sunday's practice, while Mata'afa and Yarbrough recorded pressures in the session. Rookie D.J. Wonnum also pressured the quarterback once on Sunday.

3. Irv swerves into the end zone

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer put his first-teamers against each other in the red zone late in Sunday's practice.

The offense trailed 24-20 with two minutes left in a half, and had possession on the 18-yard line.

Alexander Mattison opened the series with a 6-yard run before Kirk Cousins and Irv Smith, Jr., put the offense ahead.

Smith inched past linebacker Eric Wilson and hauled in a 12-yard score in the back right of the end zone, getting his feet down before knocking over the pylon.

Smith also showed off his athleticism on a corner route for a gain of more than 25 in a team pass drill earlier in practice.

4. Bailey gets quick work

Vikings kicker Dan Bailey didn't see the field much in team drills Sunday, but was spot on when he did.

Bailey nailed the extra point in the team situation after Smith's score, and hit field goals from 39 yards (left hash) and 44 yards (right hash) that immediately followed.

Austin Cutting and Britton Colquitt helped make up the successful battery early on in camp.

5. Dozier pulls double duty

Dakota Dozier is battling for the starting left guard spot, and that was more than apparent Sunday.

He spent almost half of practice lined up between left tackle Riley Reiff and center Garrett Bradbury, with Aviante Collins taking the other half of the reps there.

But Dozier also spent a handful of snaps as the second-team center in place of Brett Jones, who normally mans that spot.

Dozier took some snaps at center late in training camp a year ago.