EAGAN, Minn. — More than 3,000 fans and Vikings Legends helped celebrate Back Together Saturday at Vikings Training Camp.
The session marked the first chance for Vikings fans to attend a practice led by first-year Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, and the team went full-speed during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods.
After four days of practicing (two days in helmets only and two more in shells), the Vikings will have an off day Sunday before hitting the field in full pads Monday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Cornerback Kris Boyd did not participate for the second consecutive day. Akayleb Evans and Harrison Hand worked with the second team at the cornerback spots.
Right guard Jesse Davis was back in action Saturday after not participating Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium when much of the second half of practice was a jog-through.
View photos of players during 2022 Vikings Training Camp practice on July 30 at the TCO Performance Center.
O'Connell said it was part of a plan developed by the Vikings Player Health and Performance department.
"We've got a plan for him, as far as, 'How do we give him the work we need while not taxing his body to the point where we could possibly have something flare up in the knee that he's had an injury before?' Jesse's one of them, you guys will notice a few throughout camp, it's all been – believe it or not – really thought-out to kind of make sure we're getting guys reps and that true competition and evaluation phase," O'Connell said. "It's only fair if we evaluate them in the hope of how they will feel and be on Sundays. That's the hope for Jesse.
"He'll be back out there today. So there will be times here and there – hopefully, as I've planned it, on a lot of those jog-through-esque, kind of lower-volume type of days so that when we do ramp it up like we'll do today, or Monday and Wednesday next week with high-volume days, those guys will all be out there," he added.
1. Osborn went and got it
Third-year receiver K.J. Osborn appears to have picked up where his breakout second season left off.
He's been the primary player joining Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen with the first-team offense when Minnesota is in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers).
Osborn was the intended target on the deepest pass thrown by Kirk Cousins during a 7-on-7 session.
The QB heaved it down the field and hollered, "Go get it, K.J."
View photos of Vikings fans during training camp practices at the TCO Performance Center.
Osborn did just that, beating defenders on the play to the point of what would have been a touchdown.
Osborn's first career touchdown went for 64 yards, and his fourth career touchdown was a 62-yard strike against the Steelers. Saturday was another example of his explosiveness.
Earlier in practice, Cousins dropped a beauty in the bucket to get the ball over the outstretched arms of Cameron Dantzler and into Jefferson's hands.
He also zipped one to Thielen along the sideline, allowing the receiver to make a play over solid defense by safety Camryn Bynum.
2. Bynum pick, Cine comes close
As Bynum got up from the aforementioned play against Thielen, O'Connell gave the second-year safety an encouraging tap on the derriere as the team headed into its water break.
After a bit of hydration, the team partook in some 11-on-11 in the red zone.
Cousins opened with a touchdown to Jefferson, but when he tried a ball over the middle on the third play, Bynum was there to snag it for an interception.
He nearly had another one later on when the first-team defense was going against the second-team offense, denying a pass intended for Albert Wilson.
Near the end of practice, rookie safety Lewis Cine nearly had an interception on the first play of a situational drill between the second units.
Sean Mannion heaved one deep for Ihmir Smith-Marsette, but it was too far. Cine had a path to the ball, but Smith-Marsette made sure it wasn't caught.
3. Situational success with an asterisk
O'Connell put the Vikings in an end-of-half situation near the end of practice.
The offense got the ball at its 40 with 55 seconds remaining and down 10-7.
Cousins opened with a quick completion to Jefferson and followed with a pass that was impressively grabbed by the phenom along the sideline for another 20 yards.
After an encroachment penalty, Danielle Hunter looked like he would have recorded a sack on first-and-5. The team proceeded with that play as just a throwaway by Cousins, saving time, yardage and a timeout.
Cousins then completed passes to Jefferson and Osborn for 14 total yards to move the ball to the 26-yard line and spike it to stop the clock with 0:03 remaining. Minnesota did not attempt a field goal (Greg Joseph had just kicked at U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday).