Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

3 Observations: Defense Uses Pressure Combo, Jefferson Makes Signature Catch

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings began readjusting their body clocks Saturday after Thursday night's preseason opener in Seattle and Friday's off day for players.

Head Coach Kevin O'Connell opted to have a walk-through that flowed straight into a shortened version of practice in helmets and shells.

A full-pads session is scheduled for Sunday.

View photos of players during 2023 Vikings Training Camp practice on Aug. 12 at the TCO Performance Center.

Not participating: Lucky Jackson, Kene Nwangwu, Brian Asamoah II, William Kwenkeu, Jaquelin Roy, Garett Maag and Jalen Nailor did not participate. Brian O'Neill participated in position drills but not team activities as he continues his ramp-up. T.J. Hockenson did not participate in team drills. Trishton Jackson returned to practice on a limited basis after suffering a knee injury earlier in camp.

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

1. Bringing the heat

The Vikings defense is expected to bring more heat under new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores than a season ago.

In that aspect, Flores has been using multiple combinations of players in sub packages to accentuate a 3-4 base.

Saturday's action included a grouping that looked a little more like a 4-3 that combined edge rushers at four defensive line spots. Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum were on the outside, and Pat Jones II and Marcus Davenport were on the inside for a few snaps that emphasized creating pressure on quarterbacks.

That combo might be interesting to keep an eye on for likely pass situations like third-and-long or 2-minute drills.

2. Signature catch

Justin Jefferson and the Vikings receivers signed autographs on Saturday to make up for last Sunday's session that got postponed by inclement weather.

The phenom also made a signature catch on a ball thrown down the middle by Kirk Cousins, finding space between defenders and extending his arms for an away-from-body catch that generated oohs from the crowd.

Cousins later found rookie Jordan Addison for a completion beyond the linebackers.

Earlier, Cousins had tried to connect on a deep pass to K.J. Osborn, but Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum were both there to force the incompletion.

3. The way the ball bounces

Ever pay attention to just how weird a football can bounce compared to the spherical balls used for other sports? Sure, those can take funny spins or bad hops, but a football can be quite unpredictable.

The Vikings special teams units went through a couple of drills to practice keeping the ball from going into the end zone while helping cover punts.

One group essentially fielded footballs that were rolled like a bowler with a loft problem, reacting to the quirky bounces just shy of the goal line.

Another group worked a drill with a spherical ball that was bounced off the grass into the air so that players could practice tipping the ball to teammates.

Vikings rookie NaJee Thompson successfully downed a 46-yard punt by Ryan Wright at the Seattle 2-yard line late in the first half Thursday night.

Seattle tried to pin the Vikings deep when punting from the Minnesota 46-yard line in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks were unable to execute the tip drill without a player stepping on the goal line.