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3 Observations: Harris Denies Vikings Offense Last-Second Touchdown


EAGAN, Minn. — The pads were popping Friday afternoon, as the Vikings went through a nearly two-hour practice at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Saturday is a scheduled off day for players, with practice set to resume Sunday afternoon.

Defensive end Danielle Hunter, cornerback Kris Boyd and wide receiver Dillon Mitchell did not practice. Neither did linebacker Ben Gedeon, who is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List.

Here are three observations from Friday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Harris denies last-second score

The Vikings spent a considerable amount of time working in the red zone Friday, but it was the final play that provided plenty of drama.

Minnesota's first-team offense trailed 18-12 and were at the opponents' 5-yard line with just one second remaining in the hypothetical game.

Kirk Cousins looked for tight end Kyle Rudolph — remember that combination in New Orleans back in January? — but safety Anthony Harris had tight coverage to force an incompletion.

Rudolph was one of five receiving options on the play, along with Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe, Justin Jefferson and Ameer Abdullah.

View photos of Vikings players from Verizon Vikings Training Camp practice at TCO Performance Center.

2. Wilson's versatility shines

Eric Wilson was all over the field on Friday afternoon.

The Vikings fourth-year linebacker showed off his versatility, too, making plays in both the run and the pass game against his offense teammates.

Wilson fared well in 1-on-1 pass coverage drills, and then continued that success in a team period as he stopped running back Alexander Mattison for a likely loss on a pass to the flat. Wilson later forced an incompletion in the end zone on a pass intended for tight end Brandon Dillon.

The former undrafted free agent also showed up against the run, as he stopped Mattison at the line of scrimmage, and later perfectly read a reverse by Bisi Johnson.

Earlier Friday, Wilson explained how he's been able to continue improving his game through the years:

"It's definitely been a journey. I think it's hard to predict the journey it will take to be in the league throughout your football career," Wilson said. "I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've gotten so far. I don't think anything will change. My mindset doesn't change.

"I still have to do my job and work on my craft and my technique to make sure I'm doing my job as everyone else should be doing their job," Wilson added. "We should take pride in doing our own individual parts to have a collective great success. We all have to play together and play smart football."

3. Left guard battle continues

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer offered his assessment Friday morning of the starting left guard battle, calling the competition "still a work in progress."

That proved to be true in Friday's session, as Dakota Dozier and Aviante Collins split first-team reps almost equally in the session.

Dozier began practice with the first team, while Collins was with the third-team offense. The two later switched groups, but the duo worked exclusively at left guard during practice.

Rookie Ezra Cleveland was the second-team left guard for the entirety of practice.