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3 Observations: Zylstra, Watts Splash in Vikings Full-Team Scrimmage

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings split up their roster into two teams Tuesday as Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer held a full scrimmage for an entire half of football at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Anthony Barr, Adam Thielen, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Tyler Conklin, Dru Samia and Christian Darrisaw did not practice.

Josh Metellus and Dan Chisena got banged up in practice and did not return.

Minnesota's starters on offense wore white and were teammates with reserves on defense. The first unit of Minnesota's defense and reserve offense wore purple.

The starting squad was ahead 17-10 after 30 minutes of play.

The Vikings will practice again Wednesday morning before Friday's preseason finale in Kansas City.

Here are three observations from Tuesday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Watts, Zylstra make plays of the day

It was a pair of non-starters who made highlight-reel plays on their respective sides of the ball Tuesday.

Tight end Shane Zylstra had the play of the day on offense when he caught a 51-yard touchdown from Jake Browning.

Minnesota's second-team offense had moved to midfield after being backed up near their own goal line when Browning found Zylstra on a deep crossing route about 25 yards downfield.

Kris Boyd lunged but missed on an interception attempt, allowing Zylstra to scoot to the end zone on a play that fired up the purple sideline.

Watts later put points on the scoreboard by himself. The defensive tackle charged into the pocket, scooped a fumble by Kellen Mond and waltzed 10 yards into the end zone.

Much like Zylstra's score energized one sideline, Watt's touchdown did the same for the white jerseys, as Dalvin Cook sprinted to congratulate Watts after his score.

2. Evaluating the QBs

All but one of the Vikings current quarterbacks were involved in the scrimmage, as Nate Stanley sat out despite being dressed in full pads.

Cousins was on the field for six drives with the offense, producing 10 points in that span.

The quarterback and his teammates started strong, marching 67 yards on an 11-play scoring drive. That sequence ended with Justin Jefferson catching a 2-yard score. The Vikings converted both third-down attempts on the drive.

The offense punted on the next two drives before Cousins took advantage of a short field (the drive started at his own 41-yard line) on a sequence that led to a 51-yard field goal from Greg Joseph.

Cousins' fifth drive ended with a punt, and the sixth and final one concluded with a missed 59-yard field goal by Joseph at the end of the half.

Browning led one touchdown drive in three chances, as his pass to Zylstra was his final throw of the day. The quarterback went three-and-out on his opening drive, and Joseph missed a 55-yarder on the second possession.

Mond led his group to three points in four possessions, with the score coming on the fourth and final drive.

Mond began his day with an interception, as his pass hit Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the hands before being tipped by Chazz Surratt and Troy Dye before Surratt came down with it. Mond's second drive was when Watts scored, and his third possession was a three-and-out.

His final drive led to a field goal, and was set up by an acrobatic, 30-yard reception by Chisena, who landed hard but held onto the football.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Sept. 13, 2021.

3. Joseph gets plenty of work

Joseph undoubtedly had his busiest day of work this summer, as he attempted 11 total kicks throughout the 30-minute scrimmage.

He made seven of them, four of which were extra points. Joseph attempted five total kicks from 50-plus yards on Tuesday.

The kicker began the day with makes from 33 and 43 yards in a team drill before the scrimmage started, but he missed two attempts from 50-plus in the same drill.

He then made all three extra points in the scrimmage. Joseph made two of his four field goal tries in the scrimmage, hitting from 34 and 51 yards, but missing from 55 and 59 yards.

Joseph has now made 45 of 56 field goals (80.4 percent) in team drills since training camp started.

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