View images from the Wednesday, Oct. 14 practice at Winter Park.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings receivers saw man-to-man coverage and smiled.
Even with Charles Johnson out and Jarius Wright limited because of injury, the rest of the position group combined for 21 catches at Denver in Week 4, the last time the Vikings took the field.
Mike Wallace led the way with eight, and Adam Thielen posted six, the same number by Stefon Diggs in his first NFL action. It was the sixth time in franchise history for Vikings receivers to have 21 or more catches in a road game.
Sometimes Wallace was guarded by Aqib Talib. When Wallace won, the Broncos sent Chris Harris Jr. toward Wallace's direction. Although the matchups changed, Denver predominantly played man-to-man coverage.
Minnesota (2-2) expects some similarities in the approach from Kansas City (1-4) when the Chiefs visit at noon (CT) Sunday, at least in the form of a 3-4 base defensive front and a considerable amount of man coverage.
When asked Wednesday what he likes about man-to-man coverage, Wallace said, "Anything you want."
"When it's man coverage, you can tell me to run any route and I'm confident I can get open," Wallace said. "I feel like nobody can take me one-on-one. This game is really all about winning your one-on-one matchups and I feel really confident I can win every time. If not, most of the time, at least 90 percent of the time. If it's man-to-man, I love it. You lick your chops."
Thielen and Diggs agreed with Wallace on their preferences.
"I like man, press. That's when you know it's you versus the defender, and if you win, you're going to get the ball," Thielen said. "That's definitely the ideal situation for a receiver."
With zone coverage, "You get a little more unknown," said Thielen, who had career highs of catches and yards (70).
"They can disguise it better, move around on the snap, it just makes it a little difficult to read," Thielen added. "You've just got to do more when you're in zone coverage."
Diggs tied a franchise record for catches by a Viking in his debut game (Chuck Forman in 1973 and Jim Brim during the 1987 strike) and gained 87 yards (14.5 per catch).
"Zone, you're thinking a little more probably. I don't have a problem with zone, but I love man," Diggs said. "I love press coverage. Bump-and-run, that's all you can ask for. You beat one man. You've got to love playing receiver because you're one-on-one with another guy and can see what you're made of."
Big catch radius:Teddy Bridgewater was asked about Diggs' performance and complimented the fifth-round pick's catch radius.
"Stefon, he's a young guy who is working extremely hard, he's shown some flashes throughout training camp," Bridgewater said. "The thing you like about Stefon is the big catch radius that he has. He has big, strong hands, he can go up and make tough catches for you."
Bouncing back: Wallace's strongest game to date as a Viking (eight catches, 83 yards and his first TD with Minnesota) also included a knee to the helmet. Wallace said the hit occurred in the first quarter, but he was able to keep playing. Soreness set in after the game, adding another reason to why the Vikings bye a week ago was well-timed.
"I'm feeling good, really good, extremely good," said Wallace, adding he has "no doubt" he'll be OK to play against the Chiefs.
Safety topics: Zimmer also was asked for an updated evaluation of the safety spot alongside Harrison Smith and said "it's fluid."
Andrew Sendejo started the first three games of the season, but missed the Denver game because of a knee injury. The Vikings started Robert Blanton against the Broncos, and Zimmer said the team used the bye to evaluate the roster.
Zimmer said second-year pro Antone Exum Jr. has made "some" progress and could be a potential candidate for more playing time "if I feel good about him."
Zimmer later added, at this point, undrafted rookie Anthony Harris "has a better chance of getting in the mix" than recent free agent signee Brock Vereen does. Harris and Vereen are both on the Vikings practice squad.
Report card: Zimmer was asked to assess the play of the offensive line and said, "Well, not very good against Denver. Not very good against San Francisco, but I thought they played good in the other two games. I don't know C , B-, something like that. Middle of the road, but we can do a lot better."
Injury reports: In addition to Wallace, Justin Trattou (foot) did not participate. Johnson (ribs) and Sendejo (knee) were limited. Wright and Jabari Price (shoulder) fully participated.
For the Chiefs: LB Josh Mauga (groin/Achilles) and NT Dontari Poe (ankle) did not participate Wednesday. CB Jamell Fleming (elbow), Travis Kelce (groin/neck) and James O'Shaughnessy (hand) fully participated.