EAGAN, Minn. — Brandon Zylstra introduced himself to Vikings fans in a big way Saturday night by hauling in a handful of nifty catches at the night practice at TCO Stadium.
But in the days following his noticeable night, Zylstra has continued to keep his head down and his work ethic churning.
He knows there is plenty more work to be done.
“You’re trying to impress the coaches as much as you can at all points,” Zylstra said. “I did have a few mistakes in that practice, but hopefully those catches kind of helped ease those other mistakes.
“I haven’t had any coaches talk to me, but I don’t expect them to,” Zylstra later added. “I was just doing my job.”
Zylstra is among a handful of wide receivers competing for spots on the roster. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer offered his take of Zylstra’s performance so far in camp.
“He made a couple of good catches, yeah,” Zimmer said about Zylstra on Saturday. “For him, a lot is going to depend on special teams.”
Zylstra played in the Canadian Football League in 2017, catching 100 passes for 1,687 yards and five touchdowns.
But the Minnesota native might be as focused on special teams as he is on offense these days.
“It’s been good. I’ve been working on a little bit of everything so far and I’ve done some stuff that I’ve never done in my career,” Zylstra said. “I’m just trying to stay as versatile as possible.
“I’ve been doing some PAT holding, so that’s something new for me,” added Zylstra, who quipped he’s the backup to the backup at that spot.
Time will tell if Zylstra does enough to make the roster for the team he grew up rooting for.
If he does, he’ll have done it using a mix of highlight catches, a presence on special teams and a willingness to work each and every day.
“You just take it play by play,” Zylstra said. “I always say, ‘Control what you can control,’ so I’m going to do what I can to the best of my ability and see how it pans out from there.”
Morgan enjoying DeFilippo’s offense
Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo has a strong track record working with tight ends, something that suits David Morgan just fine.
The Vikings third-year tight end said after Monday’s practice that he has welcomed the fact that DeFilippo’s offensive system moves tight ends all over the formation to throw off defenses.
“I think Flip has done a great job,” Morgan said. “He’s been working with a lot of tight ends in the past, so I’ve definitely seen that carry over.
“He’s done a great job putting us in different positions to be successful and creating mismatches,” Morgan added. “In that aspect, it’s going to be good for us.”
Not that Morgan is going to be demanding the ball now. The former sixth-round pick has 11 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown over the first two seasons of his career.
“I’m not looking for anything,” Morgan said with a laugh. “I’m looking to do my best and whatever is asked of me.
“If they’re thrown, I’m catching them,” Morgan added. “But that’s not my call.”
Badet taking notes from Diggs
Jeff Badet is in a wide receivers room that features plenty of notable names, including Stefon Diggs.
The rookie from Oklahoma said he’s been keeping close tabs on Diggs’ daily routine and practice habits as he grinds through his first training camp.
“There’s so much to learn from him — running routes, catching the ball, work ethic,” Badet said. “I can’t even just name one thing.”
Badet signed with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent in April. He spent the first three years of his career at Kentucky before transferring to Oklahoma for his senior season in 2017. He played in 48 career games with 30 starts.
Play of the day
Wide receiver Adam Thielen laid out to make the play of Monday’s practice.
The Vikings were in a team session when quarterback Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass and looked Thielen’s way.
The wide receiver muscled his way down the left sideline past rookie cornerback Mike Hughes before Thielen went full extension to haul in Cousins’ pass.
The play, which would have gone for 25-plus yards, drew a huge cheer from the crowd and can be seen below: