EAGAN, Minn. — The length of Monday's Vikings practice will be shorter than the previous two days, but the intensity could ratchet up because pads will be on for the first time in 2020.
Reminder: Today's practice will be simulcast on FOX 9 KMSP in the Twin Cities, on KFAN 100.3-FM and the Vikings Radio Network beginning at 2 p.m. A livestream of the session on Vikings.com and the team's official app will begin at 2:15.
"I'm not really nervous. I think it's good that we get the pads on to start getting a little more physical in there," Vikings Head Coach Zimmer said. "Practice is a little bit shorter today. We can only go, I think 90 minutes today, so we'll work into it as we go."
Zimmer said he plans to take a look at pad levels by players and see who is able to "change the line of scrimmage." Another difference from the past two days of practices will be "a few different types of rushes" on pass plays.
Here are four other topics that Zimmer covered Monday.
1. How much tackling does there need to be/will there be?
The aperitif of preseason football usually provides the first opportunity for significant tackling by NFL teams. The absence of that appetite inducer is causing coaches to consider how much they need to practice live tackling to prepare for Week 1.
The Vikings are less than four weeks from hosting the Packers for the first time on a Kickoff Weekend ever, and Zimmer said he wants to get to the Sept. 13 game "healthy if we can, but on the same token, we want to make sure that we do a good job in tackling."
"I've been thinking about [tackling] a lot. I think there's certain guys that are going to need to do some of those and certain guys that don't," Zimmer said. "I think we'll probably have some live special teams periods to find out if some of these guys can tackle, run down the field in space and tackle."
Zimmer said there's a possibility that "thud periods where you're wrapping guys up … would be more important than getting them to the ground."
2. Getting to game day
Zimmer has mentioned previously that he wants practices to simulate game days as much as possible.
That could be further emphasized over the next few Sunday practices.
"We're going to have to have some kind of games where we play," Zimmer said. "Probably next Sunday I'll play a quarter, and the Sunday following, that I'll play a half and kind of try to ramp it up as we go that way."
3. Cook on back burner
Zimmer has been pretty cautious with starting running backs over the course of preseasons, and that appears to be continuing this year so far with Dalvin Cook.
Cook rushed two times during the 2019 exhibition slate, popping an 85-yard touchdown. The Vikings also have a pretty good hunch of what he'll look like in this offense over the course of a season.
"We're going to be smart with him," Zimmer said. "We're just trying to make sure that we continue to give him what he needs and then get him ready for the 13th."
4. Young corners
Zimmer's NFL roots of mentoring corners are well documented, and he has a whole batch of young players at the position to teach and coach this year. Zimmer explained his process.
"We have to try to get the different techniques down first, and then we can start talking more about schemes," Zimmer said. "Initially it's about footwork and technique."
That's followed by the different responsibilities they have on certain coverages.
"I feel good about the corners. I've been watching them here for a couple weeks now, and I feel good about them," Zimmer said. "I feel like we've got a chance to have some good corners. We're going to feed them as fast as we can to get them ready, but I think they're going to go in there and do a good job. I kind of like this group. I think we've got some size, we've got some quickness, we've got some athletic ability. … It's just going out there and doing it, doing what they do every day, and that's what they're doing now.