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3 Observations: Jefferson Returns to Practice; Mond Picks Up Pace

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings got back to work Monday afternoon, and a familiar face returned to practice.

Justin Jefferson practiced for the first time since getting injured on Aug. 6. The wide receiver went through individual drills and partook in two reps — one in 11-on-11 and another in a 7-on-7 drill.

Troy Dye, Kene Nwangwu, Chad Beebe and James Lynch were not spotted at practice. Christian Darrisaw, Cam Smith and Myles Dorn watched practice without pads, and Anthony Barr remains sidelined.

Dede Westbrook was in pads but worked on a side field, and Tyler Conklin left practice early and didn't return. Minnesota announced during practice that kicker Riley Patterson and wide receiver Blake Proehl have been placed on the Waived/Injured list.

The Vikings will practice again Tuesday at the team facility.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

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

1. Mond picks up the pace

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said after Saturday's preseason opener that the biggest area of improvement he wanted to see out of Kellen Mond was an increase in the pace and tempo of his play.

Mond responded in a big way Monday, having perhaps his best practice as a rookie.

And he thrived in the situation Zimmer talked about, as he led reserves to a go-ahead field goal in an end-of-the-first-half situation.

With the game tied at 7 and 71 seconds on the clock, Mond and the offense took over at their own 30-yard line. He hit A.J. Rose, Jr., for a short pass before Zach Davidson moved the chains with a 32-yard reception.

Completions to Rose and Myron Mitchell set up a 43-yard field goal try, but that was moved back due to a false start.

Greg Joseph then stepped up to hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired on the clock.

2. A development along the O-line

Olisaemeka Udoh didn't play Saturday, as he and others along the offensive line watched from the sideline.

And it appears that Udoh has moved ahead of Dakota Dozier in the battle to be the starting right guard. That was amplified Monday by Udoh taking all of the first-team reps, with Dozier on the second unit and Wyatt Davis running with the third group.

Rashod Hill and Blake Brandel split reps at first-team left tackle, but it's worth noting that Hill also did not play Saturday and appeared to get banged up last week against the Broncos.

Brandel, for what it's worth, won both of his 1-on-1 reps against Janarius Robinson on Monday.

Brandel also took second-team reps at left tackle, and was joined by Dru Samia, Mason Cole, Dozier and Evin Ksiezarczyk.

3. Peterson, Breeland show off coverage skills

A pair of veteran cornerbacks stood out for their coverage on deep passes.

Patrick Peterson looked like the veteran he is, as he denied deep passes from Kirk Cousins and Jake Browning down the right sideline. Cousins' attempt went for K.J. Osborn, while Browning was looking for Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

Breeland hung with Adam Thielen down the left sideline, and broke up a pass to the two-time Pro Bowler from Cousins.

Cousins and Thielen did connect on a deep throw down the right sideline with Harrison Hand in coverage.