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Rookie QB Joel Stave Wants to Play a Snap Quicker for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Joel Stave successfully led the Vikings 69 yards in 69 seconds for a drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Blair Walsh as time expired in the first half.

The rookie quarterback, however, wants to get faster within each play on the field.

Stave received a significant amount of reps on Saturday when the Vikings returned to practice at Winter Park after a day off for players. Teddy Bridgewater practiced after not playing in Thursday's game via a coach's decision, and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Shaun Hill, who is prepping for his 15th pro season, was given a veteran's day off on Saturday.

Zimmer told members of the media that Bridgewater could have played and reiterated "there's no concern" about Bridgewater.

The Vikings announced the signing of free agent quarterback Brad Sorensen before practice, and Sorensen participated in some position drills. Thus, the Vikings went from Bridgewater to Stave during team drills while Taylor Heinicke is still on the non-football injury list.

"We usually have four (quarterbacks) in camp, and because of what happened to (Taylor) Heinicke, we were short," Zimmer said. "So, we've been keeping an eye on things."

Through relief work in two games, Stave is a combined 14-of-27 passing for 143 yards with one interception, providing valuable learning opportunities against two lively defenses.

"More than anything, I can keep playing quicker. That's the thing that I noticed," Stave said. "Everyone out here is fast, everyone out here is a good player, so the thing I've noticed is I can keep playing quicker and get used to the speed of the game.

"It's just a matter of doing it more quickly on the field and getting from your first to your second and your second to your third reads and just being able to do that a snap quicker," Stave said. "The more I can do that, the better I'll be."

Bridgewater did not play on Thursday night in Seattle via a decision by Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

Hill opened the game and played late into the second quarter against the Seahawks, finishing 10-of-17 passing for 129 yards.

"Shaun played well the other night, and I thought (Joel) Stave, in the two ball games, he has done a good job," Zimmer said.

Thielen for 3

Adam Thielen is the only Vikings receiver to catch at least one pass from the three quarterbacks the Vikings have played this preseason. He hauled in a 22-yarder from Teddy Bridgewater with a high degree of difficulty on both ends in the opener.

Thielen followed that clutch catch by leading the Vikings with four receptions for 61 yards against the Seahawks. Thielen secured an 18-yard pass from Hill on the third snap of the game, and turned in a trifecta for Stave (gains of 8, 17 and 18) on Minnesota's field-goal drive before halftime. He has worked with the first team in a three-receiver set along with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs, in addition to providing consistency regardless of the QB.

"It's just an opportunity to get better and try to prove myself and try to help this football team become a better team," Thielen said.

Thielen's five receptions for 83 yards so far is good for an average of 16.6 yards per catch.

Zimmer talked it up to results of hard work put in by Thielen.

"He's made some good plays and made a really nice catch on the one ball over the middle that was a little bit behind him," Zimmer said. "You know, kind of like he did in Cincinnati, too, same kind of scenario. The more you make plays, the more you get to play."

Progress with pressure

The Vikings were generally pleased with the amount of pressure the first-team defense and some special packages placed on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Minnesota got to the fleet-footed QB and sacked him four times with a variety of ways.

"Just trying to play better than we did the previous week," nickel back Captain Munnerlyn said. "Guys said we were going to get after the quarterback, we were going to cover him up in the back end, try to eliminate the big plays. I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that, especially in the first half. I think we had like four sacks on Russell Wilson – the D-line did a great job getting after him, and in the back end we did a great job covering."

Kicking it with Walsh

Walsh went 7-for-8 on kicks during an 11-on-11 session, beginning with an extra point from the middle of the field. After that 33-yard kick, he was good on field goals of 39, 41, 44, 46, 47 and 50. The lone miss was a 47-yarder that bounced off the left upright.

Quotable

"There's a lot of sense of urgency in this locker room. Guys like Adrian Peterson, Everson Griffen, Chad Greenway, everybody's hungry. We're hungry for the Super Bowl run. And we don't want to just go to the Super Bowl – we want to win it. We're trying to work each and every day at practice and just trying to get better as a team." — Munnerlyn

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