EAGAN, Minn. — The first full-team practice — without shells or pads but in helmets — of 2022 Vikings Training Camp is in the books.
The Kevin O'Connell era took another step forward Wednesday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. The session was not open to fans but was attended by media members. The first session open to fans is Saturday (click here for more info).
Linebacker Jordan Hicks did not practice. Receiver Blake Proehl and linebacker Ryan Connelly are on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Cornerback Nate Hairston is on the Non-Football Injury list.
Here are three observations from Wednesday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Booth pick and bounce back
Rookie cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr., won't forget one of his first plays of an NFL training camp.
The second-round corner lined up against phenom receiver Justin Jefferson when Minnesota opened 11-on-11 with the second-team defense going against the first-team offense.
Booth read the route, broke on the football and made a nice sliding catch to intercept Kirk Cousins.
"Yeah, it felt great. Just seeing full-speed offense, different looks," Booth said. "I'm seeing the best in J.J. every day, so that's going to get me ready for Game 1. It felt good."
The Vikings starting quarterback bounced back later in the practice with some impressive work in the red zone during 7-on-7. The session included touchdown passes to Dalvin Cook, Irv Smith, Jr., and Jefferson. Smith looked sharp and fully recovered from the 2021 preseason knee injury that cost him his entire third pro season.
View photos of players during 2022 Vikings Training Camp practice on July 27 at the TCO Performance Center.
2. On the lines
The Vikings session looked similar up front to the offseason program.
Minnesota lined up Christian Darrisaw at left tackle, Ezra Cleveland at left guard, Garrett Bradbury at center, Jesse Davis at right guard and Brian O'Neill at right tackle.
Davis took the brunt of the first-team work for the Vikings during Minnesota's voluntary offseason program.
The second unit from left to right was Olisaemeka Udoh, Chris Reed, Austin Schlottmann, Ed Ingram and Blake Brandel.
On defense, Minnesota used the combination of Dalvin Tomlinson, Harrison Phillips and Armon Watts when the Vikings first team had three down defensive linemen, much the way it did during the offseason program.
3. New looks
Those making their way to training camp as early as Saturday will notice new looks sported by offensive linemen, tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers and outside linebackers.
Those position groups have Guardian Caps, padded external additions worn over the shell of helmets. Certain position groups for all teams are required to use them during part of camp as part of the NFL's continued safety efforts.
"We'll see," linebacker Eric Kendricks said when asked his initial thoughts on the new look. "It's about playing safe football. I'm about that. Yeah, let's do it."
Fans may also notice that there are not nameplates on the backs of Vikings practice jerseys this year.