The Vikings have reached the point in their training camp when they can put on pads for this afternoon's practice.
That milestone will definitely enable coaches to make better evaluations between offensive and defensive linemen, but there are other areas of the field and components of the game that coaches will be able to assess.
1500ESPN.com's Andrew Krammer noted today will be Brandon Fusco's first time in pads in more than 10 months but Fusco expects "no limitations" as he transitions from right guard to left guard.
"I'm getting more comfortable," Fusco told Krammer. "It's more working on my balance in the stance, switching my footwork. Play wise, it's fine."
Krammer noted the chemistry building process between Fusco and left tackle Matt Kalil is similar to what was built with right tackle Phil Loadholt.
*Fusco and Kalil sit next to each other in team meetings and watch film as they try to establish that rapport that was so successful for Fusco and Loadholt, a pairing that helped (Adrian) Peterson gain 2,097 rushing yards in his 2012 NFL MVP season. *
"Me and Phil were pretty good, to the point where we didn't have to say anything to each other, we just knew what each other were doing. I want to get on that track with Matt," Fusco said. "It's going to take a little while, but I think we'll get to that point...[Kalil] is a good player and I feel it's going to be his best year yet.
"We're hip to hip," Fusco added. "I think coach even mentioned something like, we need to be more hip to hip."
ESPN's Ben Goessling, meanwhile, wrote on how the presence of pads will impact cornerbacks, who haven't played "press coverage" on receivers since the 2014 season ended because of NFL rules that prevent the technique from being used during organized team activities. Goessling quoted Mike Zimmer as saying that rule is "ridiculous."
"We have guys go out and try to press every day in the games, and all through OTAs and minicamp and first two days of training camp, you can't press," Zimmer told Goessling when talking about cornerback Xavier Rhodes. "That's one of his better things. But it's good for him to play as much off (coverage) as we've had to play. I think those guys learn. We're going to look sloppy (Tuesday) in press because we haven't done it in (seven) months, so it's something we're really going to have to work on."
*In Zimmer's view, (Trae) Waynes (and other young players) would be helped if they didn't have to spend part of the year unable to practice a key technique. *
"That's why I said it's ridiculous," Zimmer said. "If you're a corner and you're trying to get better at pressing and you can't ever do that, it's really hurting your career possibly because you can't practice what you need to practice."
Mark Craig of the *Star Tribune *reported that Harrison Smith is focused on football instead of worried about a contract, and *Viking Update's *Eric Oslund reported that receiver Jarius Wright, a 2012 draft classmate of Smith's, is taking a similar approach.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports asked Zimmer about Peterson's potential workload in this Q&A.