EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson is a familiar face among a slew of new experiences for rookie defensive end Denzell Perine.
Perine is an alum of Florida International, where he played in 47 games.
Patterson, who started his second stint with the Vikings in 2014, served as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach for Florida International during 2013, Perine's redshirt sophomore season. That season, Perine recorded 34 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a pass broken up.
Perine said that although the transition to the NFL has been challenging, it was helpful to already be comfortable with Patterson's coaching style coming in.
"It's not necessarily easier, but I know how to work with Coach Patterson on specific drills and things and how to continue learning from him," Perine said this week after a voluntary organized team activity practice.
In four active seasons at Florida International, Perine totaled 119 tackles (66 solo), 22 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and five pass breakups. The Vikings agreed to terms with Perine, an undrafted free agent, on May 2.
Perine said Patterson is "more relaxed" in nature compared to the intensity of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. While Patterson may be more soft-spoken, however, Perine said he expects greatness from his players.
"He's on you," Perine said of Patterson. "He's going to make sure he has you right, the way he wants it. He'll work with you every day and get you looking like [he wants]."
Following his seventh OTA practice, Perine stayed behind with a handful of defensive linemen, putting in extra time to work on hand and foot placement and use the tackling dummies and sleds. Seventh-year defensive end Everson Griffen took charge of the impromptu session, vocally coaching a number of rookies and demonstrating techniques to practice.
Perine said he's learned a lot from Griffen and is always paying attention to the way he plays.
"Griffen is really detailed – he's a technician with everything," Perine said. "[Brian Robison] too. Him, Everson, Linval [Joseph] and [Sharrif] Floyd, they really help me out a lot."
Perine appreciates that the veterans are so willing to mentor him and the other younger players. He said it's not surprising based on how Patterson coaches his players.
"Coach Patterson always says that knowledge isn't all about football," Perine said. "He's always been like that. It's all about handling life together – he's teaching us to be men.
"He treats me like I'm his son," Perine added. "Like we're all his children."
The rookie is grateful that Patterson liked what he saw from Perine in college and it led to this opportunity with the Vikings.
"I'm just trying to get better and learn my technique," Perine said. "I want to keep learning what Coach Patterson's teaching me and get it down to point."
View images from the ninth of 10 OTA practices.
Wednesday's Top Plays
Day nine of organized team activities once again included a pair of picks from the Vikings defense.
Starting out, linebacker Emmanuel Lamur seemed to come out of nowhere to intercept a Teddy Bridgewater pass at the goal line intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Cornerback Terence Newman later proved he hasn't missed a step, stepping in front of wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a pick.
Here are a few other notable plays from Wednesday:
- Safety Antone Exum, Jr. executed tight coverage and broke up a deep ball by Shaun Hill intended for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
- Hill and tight end MyCole Pruitt formed an effective tandem when Hill threw a smooth 25-yarder to Pruitt for a touchdown.
- Rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell made a nice grab on an inside route.
- Defensive end Everson Griffen stood out, breaking through the line for two would-be sacks on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
- Rookie running back Jhurell Pressley caught a crisp sideline pass by quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
- Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was well-positioned in run support, greeting Adrian Peterson with a smile at the line of scrimmage.