MANKATO, Minn. — Adrian Peterson took the handoff, cut to the right and crossed the goal line with ease.
It was the first play from scrimmage of the Vikings Saturday night practice and received a sizeable cheer from a packed Blakeslee Stadium crowd of 10,300. A total of 4,000 attended the morning walk-through.
Peterson, who had some impressive cuts and bursts on runs, capped his night by joining teammates in throwing footballs to the crowd and signing autographs for a line of fans next to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater moments before a fireworks show.
In between, Peterson and Bridgewater were just two Vikings that gave fans plenty of reasons to be excited about the 2015 season, but Bridgewater said there's still work to be done.
"The fans were amazing. I'm glad we were able to come out today and give them a show," Bridgewater said. "Some guys showed up big time tonight, talk about No. 14, Stefon Diggs, to be a young guy, he's showing what it takes to be able to play in this league and we're glad to have him.
"We know that we have a long way to go still, but tonight, (it was great) just to show where we are," Bridgewater added, still wearing his red no-contact jersey that will be replaced by a purple one in a week. "A week from now, we'll be in Canton, Ohio, ready to play our first preseason game, so we're pretty excited and can't wait to get back to work."
The Vikings play the Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 9, a day after legendary center Mick Tingelhoff is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Vikings arrived at Minnesota State University, Mankato for the 50th training camp on campus last week and have progressed through non-contact sessions to hitting but not tackling, which will be the next step against the Steelers.
The team did a good bit of red zone work and two-minute drives. Bridgewater showed resolve on one series that began with having to scramble because all options were covered on first down, a fumbled exchange on second down and a beauty of a fade route to Charles Johnson for a touchdown on third down.
Bridgewater said he also liked what he saw from veteran QB Shaun Hill in connections with the rookie receiver Diggs, who continued to impress with a night that included a pair of TDs.
"He's in there with Shaun a lot, and he's working hard," Bridgewater said. "Those guys have great chemistry. We call it the Maryland Terps connection, but those guys are great. Shaun sets a great example for me. Those wide receivers set a great example for a guy like Diggs."
For the record, Diggs is only a year younger than Bridgewater, who said it's "amazing" to think about the difference in his own play from where he was a year ago.
"But I credit that to the coaches," Bridgewater said. "They do a great job of calling plays that fit my skills and what I'm good at doing, so we are just able to come out every day and play at a high level. The coaches have high expectations and they're not backing down from them."
View some of the top images from Saturday's night practice. Full gallery coming Sunday.
HOME STATE PRIDE: Adam Thielen had one of the biggest jukes of camp, perfectly executing a double move in the red zone on the field where he played in college. Fellow Minnesota natives Marcus Sherels made a couple of nifty cuts during kickoff returns and Isaac Fruechte made a couple of nice catches.
Eden Prairie native Carter Bykowski, however, was sidelined, along with DuJuan Harris, Gavin Lutman and Josh Robinson (physically unable to perform list).
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer thanked fans for turning out so strongly and for being some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the NFL. Zimmer said the Vikings will need their help for home-field advantage this season and will continue to "work our rear ends off" to try to bring home a championship.