EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings put the pads back on and got back to work Friday afternoon.
Minnesota practiced for roughly two hours in balmy conditions at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, but the session was overshadowed by Pro Bowl wide receiver Justin Jefferson leaving practice early with an apparent injury.
The Vikings were working on late-half game situation when Jefferson couldn't hang onto a pass over the middle from Kirk Cousins. Bashaud Breeland punched the ball away, and the two went to the ground.
Jefferson stayed down for a few seconds and eventually walked off on his own with trainers. He went inside Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and didn't return for practice.
Anthony Barr did not practice, while fellow linebacker Cam Smith left midway through practice after being attended to on the sideline.
The Vikings will hold Saturday's practice at U.S. Bank Stadium. Tickets can be found here.
Here are three observations from Friday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Offense thrives in red-zone drills
Shortly after Jefferson left practice, Vikings wide receivers and tight ends went up against defensive backs in 1-on-1 drills inside the red zone.
Dan Chisena and Blake Proehl were among the wide outs who stood out, as Chisena had a pair of scores and Proehl had one.
Adam Thielen, Irv Smith, Jr., Tyler Conklin and Brandon Dillon also had scores for the offense in the critical area.
Defensively, Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith had solid pass breakups, while Mackensie Alexander had strong coverage on Chad Beebe in the end zone.
2. Split decision on short-yardage situations
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer put the emphasis on short-yardage situations early on in Friday's session.
Minnesota ran four plays in a row on third-and-1, with each side of the ball winning twice.
Dalvin Cook opened the drill with a first-down run, but Danielle Hunter responded with a sack on Cousins (the quarterback wasn't touched) on the ensuing play.
Cook gained another first down on the third play, but he fumbled and the ball was recovered by linebacker Tuf Borland for a turnover. Alexander Mattison ran for a first down on the final play of the sequence.
Minnesota's first-team offensive line of Rashod Hill, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Dakota Dozier and Brian O'Neill were on the field for the first two plays. The second offensive line consisted of Blake Brandel, Cole Cabral, Mason Cole, Oli Udoh and Evin Ksiezarczyk.
With camp nearing the end of its second week, Zimmer likely wanted to see how the trenches looked.
3. Lots of special teams work
Zimmer said Friday afternoon the Vikings would emphasize special teams at practice.
That's exactly what they did, beginning the session with full-on punt return drills.
Chisena and Proehl spent time at gunner and were joined by Ameer Abdullah, Parry Nickerson, Kris Boyd and K.J. Osborn.
Osborn, Beebe, Abdullah and Ihmir Smith-Marsette took reps at punt returner.
The Vikings also worked on full-team kickoffs multiple times in practice. Abdullah, Osborn and Smith-Marsette handled returns.
Greg Joseph missed his lone field goal try in team periods. His 57-yard try was wide left at the end of the half and came on the ensuing play after Jefferson's apparent injury.
Joseph is now 18 of 24 on field goals in full team drills in camp.