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LBs Enjoy Wilson's Pick 6, Other Observations from Night Practice

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings annual night practice — and first at TCO Stadium — is in the books.

A menacing weather forecast yielded to a calm night with a beauty of a sunset. Per tradition, the night was punctuated by fireworks to the east of the stadium.

The stadium features a grass berm in the west end zone, and fans who opted for the green grass were treated to the sight of Eric Wilson running for a pick six after the linebacker intercepted a screen pass near the line of scrimmage. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks — both of whom were not in on the play — chased Wilson to celebrate.

"It was great, running into the end zone with AB and EK, just to celebrate with us," Wilson said. "We always hype each other up, especially when we make plays like that, so it was a great moment."

Kendricks definitely knows the path to the end zone. He has returned both of his career picks for touchdowns — a 77-yarder in the 2016 season opener at Tennessee and a 31-yarder against Cincinnati to help the Vikings clinch the NFC North last season.

"That's what it's all about, having fun out here," Kendricks said. "The NFL can be stressful at times, and the days at camp can get long, but you've got to have fun when your teammate makes an interception, especially when you work so hard, so you've got to run down with him and celebrate."

Wilson said he enjoyed the atmosphere in the stadium and running toward the fans on the berm.

"I love the venue, all of the fans out here and the support," Wilson said. "You've got to love Skol Nation and the love they give us."

The Vikings will have Sunday off before returning to practice Monday.

Here are six observations from the night practice.

1. Cousins and Diggs quickly connect

On a night when Randy Moss was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Vikings went deep on their first snap of 1-on-1 receiver vs. defensive back drills.

Offseason addition Kirk Cousins, who received a warm welcome from the crowd when he entered the stadium, lofted a brilliant ball down the left sideline. Stefon Diggs, working against All-Pro Xavier Rhodes, made an impressive catch for a 36-yard touchdown.

2. Zylstra finds a grove

This time last year, Brandon Zylstra was tearing up the CFL. The Spicer native totaled 100 receptions for a league-best 1,687 yards.

Zylstra, who grew up watching Moss and Cris Carter, signed with Minnesota in January. He has taken some first-team reps during camp but did some substantial damage with the second team on Saturday.

With the Vikings in a move-the-ball period of practice, Zylstra made three impressive catches on throws from Trevor Siemian. The last was a nifty one-hander with a toe tap along the sideline.

3. Offensive line forced to shuffle

Minnesota's offensive line was already without Pat Elflein as the starting center continues to rehab from an injury suffered in the NFC Championship Game. Then, right guard Mike Remmers left practice early this past week after going down in a goal-line drill.

The Vikings opened camp with 2017 starting left guard Nick Easton at center, but Easton did not participate on Saturday.

Cornelius Edison was moved up to join the first unit at center, Tom Compton lined up at left guard, and Danny Isidora lined up at right guard. After Edison, the Vikings also had Josh Andrews and J.P. Quinn take snaps at center.

4. No Dalvin

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Dalvin Cook has been cleared for preseason activity, but it remains to be seen if the second-year running back will play on Saturday at Denver.

Latavius Murray took first-team reps and had a couple of nice runs.

Running back Roc Thomas and receivers Chad Beebe and Tavarres King also did not participate Saturday night.

5. Kickers connect

Vikings veteran Kai Forbath and fifth-round pick Daniel Carlson are competing for the kicking job, and both aimed true on Saturday night during the special teams period.

Forbath and Carlson combined to go 8-for-8. Each was good from 33, 41, 46 and 53 yards.

6. Sherels makes plays at both ends of the field

Marcus Sherels delivered impressive plays on defense and special teams.

The eight-year pro broke up a would-be touchdown pass from Siemian to Cayleb Jones during a red zone drill. He also made a smooth sliding catch of a punt to down the football inside the 5-yard line during a special teams period.