EAGAN, Minn. — The 2018 season opener on Sunday will mark two weeks since the Vikings acquired Brett Jones in a trade with the Giants.
Could the offensive lineman slide into a starting spot so soon in his Vikings career?
With Pat Elflein unlikely to play in Week 1, time will tell if Jones potentially starts at center. The 27-year-old said Wednesday that he’s going with the flow for whatever the team has in store for him.
“I’m just trying to keep getting comfortable and help the team whatever way I can,” Jones said.
“I do whatever the coaches tell me,” Jones later added. “I just go out there and do what I’m told. I’m still new here so I’m trying to figure things out.”
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is preparing to make his first-ever start in Purple. If Jones does, too, Cousins could take snaps from him for the first time in game action.
“It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. We’re not going to dwell on what we can’t control,” Cousins said. “We’re going to focus on what we have and making the best out of it.
“I’m excited to build a rapport with Jones and the rest of the O-line so that we can develop a continuity as the rest of the season goes on,” Cousins added.
Wait, does that mean Jones will indeed get the start at center against San Francisco?
“You have to ask Coach Zimmer, I don’t set the roster,” Cousins said with a laugh. “But he was the center today in walk-through at 10:20 a.m.”
Jones said he’s been able to build a little bit of chemistry with Cousins in the short time they have worked together.
“Kirk is an excellent communicator,” Jones said. “He wants things done a certain way, and you have to be able to try to the best of your ability to emulate what he wants.
“I think that anytime there’s a new center and things like that, you want to have consistency,” Jones added. “I’m just doing what I’m told to make sure we’re all on the same page and that whoever is in there can adjust and play well and the Vikings can have success.”
Jones started 14 of the 30 games he’s played for the Giants in the past two seasons, including 13 of 16 games in 2017.
Wile settling in with Vikings
It seems Matt Wile was here, there and everywhere over the weekend.
Wile, the Vikings new punter, explained his chaotic weekend as he changed teams with a pit stop at home thrown in as well.
“It’s been a little hectic. I got released on Saturday from the Steelers and flew from Pittsburgh to San Diego,” said Wile, a California native. “Then I got the call in the morning, so I think I was home for 12-14 hours from Saturday night to Sunday morning.
“Then it was back out here to practice Monday,” Wile added. “But it was a great phone call. I was actually out walking my dog, but it was a good phone call.”
The 26-year-old punted eight times for 392 yards (49.0 average) with a long of 58 for the Steelers in the preseason. He and the coverage team had a net average of 48.8 and placed four punts inside the 20-yard line without having a touchback.
“It’s nice knowing that I performed well, but now every game is a new game,” Wile said. “I don’t try to focus on how I did last game … I just want to keep getting better and more consistent.”
Wile said he worked with long snapper Kevin McDermott upon arriving at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. He credited McDermott and Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson for helping make his transition smooth.
Wile, a former punter at the University of Michigan, has appeared in four NFL games, totaling 553 yards on 12 punts with a long of 59 and an average of 46.1.
“I want to be consistent and hit the ball with hang time and location and distance,” Wile said. “I want it where, if we punt the ball right or punt the ball left, our guys know that’s where it’s going to be and they can just go out there and do their job.
“I want to make it as easy as I can for the rest of guys on the team,” Wile added.
Richardson ready for home debut
Count Sheldon Richardson among those who is fired up for his regular-season debut in Purple.
The Vikings signed the defensive tackle to enhance a defense that ranked first in the NFL in points per game, yards per game and opponents’ third-down percentage in 2017.
The former first-round pick said he has grown close with his teammates in recent months.
“Getting the chemistry down with that in-game experience,” Richardson said. “We didn’t get a full game together but we got enough reps. It was everything I needed to prepare for the season.”
And what will it be like to play in front a loud capacity crowd against the 49ers?
“It’s real exciting … it counts for real now,” Richardson said. “We’re chomping at the bit to get after it.”
View practice photos from Wednesday, September 5 as the Vikings start preparation for the San Francisco 49ers.
For the Vikings: Mackensie Alexander (ankle) and Roc Thomas (ankle) did not practice. Pat Elflein (ankle/shoulder), Riley Reiff (foot), Marcus Sherels (hamstring) and Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) were limited. Stacy Coley (groin) was a full participant.
For the 49ers: Will be updated.
Erik Magnuson (hamstring) did not practice. Garry Gilliam (concussion), Jimmie Ward (quad) and Malcolm Smith (hamstring) were limited.