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3 Observations: Opportunity Knocks at Vikings Night Practice, Jake Browning Answers

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings put on a show under the lights of TCO Stadium.

Minnesota's annual Night Practice of training camp featured plenty of big plays, even if some notable names were missing.

Jake Browning was the lone quarterback in attendance, as Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley and rookie Kellen Mond were not present when practice began at 7:30 p.m. (CT).

Wyatt Davis also was not present. The Vikings released a statement earlier Saturday to announce that some players would not be available to due COVID-19 protocols agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA.

View photos of Vikings players at training camp during the night practice at TCO Stadium.

Kicker Riley Patterson and offensive linemen Christian Darrisaw and Cole Cabral were at practice but did not participate for the fourth straight day. Patterson is on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List and cannot practice until taken off that list. Jeff Gladney has not been in attendance.

Bisi Johnson, who left Friday's practice, watched the Night Practice in street clothes,

Michael Pierce and Dede Westbrook didn't partake in full team drills for the fourth straight day.

Players have an off day on Sunday before the team will go to full pads on Monday.

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

1. Browning lights it up

All eyes were on Browning in prime time, and the former undrafted free agent delivered in front of a packed house.

He had some help early on as quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, who played collegiately at Pitt, threw passes to receivers during individual drills.

But it was Browning's show from then on, and he didn't disappoint. tracked his throws during full, 11-on-11 team drills through the night and had the quarterback completing an impressive 26 of 37 pass attempts.

That included a 2-point conversion to Irv Smith, Jr., after Browning led the first-team offense on a go-ahead scoring drive with under two minutes left. The quarterback couldn't pull off a potential game-tying drive (against himself?) when he and reserves were going the other way. His last-second pass from 26 yards out was batted down in the end zone.

The 25-year-old did a fine job of spreading the ball around, too, hitting notable names such as Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Smith and Tyler Conklin throughout the night.

The Vikings even gave Browning a break on few plays, with Dalvin Cook taking the snap in the Wildcat formation. Cook handed off to Alexander Mattison from the shotgun on both instances.

Browning broke down the team huddle to end practice, getting a few cups of water thrown on him and also receiving a loud ovation from the crowd.

2. Thielen, Osborn go deep

A pair of Browning's most impressive throws came down the field in 7-on-7 drills and wowed the Purple faithful at TCO Stadium.

First, Browning connected with second-year receiver K.J. Osborn, who continued his strong showing early in camp.

Osborn made a great adjustment on the play, which was captured by Arif Hasan of The Athletic.

Browning wasn't done though, as he later hit Thielen on a beautiful ball in which the wide receiver laid out for it.

Thielen's catch drew a massive roar from the crowd in one of the top plays of the night.

3. Special teams get plenty of work

The Vikings opened and closed practice with strong special teams work, as both kicking units got the chance to show their stuff in an exciting atmosphere.

Kicker Greg Joseph was up first and made six of eight field goals on the night. He made one from 31 yards and a pair from 33 yards out before hitting from 37 and 44 yards away.

Joseph then missed back-to-back kicks, clanking his 52-yard try off the right upright before pushing a 50-yard try to the left. He ended with a 33-yard make.

Andrew DePaola snapped to Britton Colquitt for the first four kicks before Turner Bernard handled the final four attempts.

Colquitt's turn under the lights came at the end of practice and focused on both ends of the field.

He was put under some pressure, backed up against his own end zone, but uncorked numerous strong punts that likely would have flipped the field in a game. Westbook, Osborn and Ameer Abdullah handled punt return duties.

Colquitt and the punt team then moved near midfield with the goal of landing the ball near the opponent's goal line. The unit succeeded by downing a few punts inside the 10-yard line, including one right by the goal line.


U.S. Bank Stadium Practice

Join us for the U.S. Bank Stadium practice on Aug. 7. Fans are encouraged to come early and visit the plaza to enjoy all the activities and excitement of a typical Vikings game day.