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Vikings Camp 3-Cap Day 2: Zimmer Says Kendricks Looks Like He's Drinking Less Coffee

MANKATO, Minn. — Eric Kendricks had a great jump on the play.

The diving interception and return for a score was even better.

The Vikings linebacker went flying through the air and extended. He secured the ball, held onto it as he hit the turf and got up to run the ball into the end zone.

The all-out-effort play occurred on the second day of practice of his second NFL training camp.

"That was a great play," said safety Harrison Smith, who has 12 career interceptions and a franchise-record four career interception return touchdowns. "That's kind of what we expect out of Eric. He's a very good player.

"It's just competing, and that's what you want to see," Smith added. "That's one point that Coach [Mike] Zimmer got on us about: [creating] turnovers, and that was a great one."

Kendricks, who led the Vikings with 105 tackles as a rookie, is looking for his first interception in a game

"I think that's just a little bit of what you can do yourself, I guess," Kendricks said. "I just tried to make a play."

Zimmer said Kendricks appears "much more comfortable" at this point in training camp than a year ago.

"Last year he was very … what's the word I'm looking for … it's like he had too much coffee to drink," Zimmer said.

Kendricks agreed that he is more comfortable this year.

"Last year, it was more of getting adjusted to my rookie year, and now I'm getting into the swing of things," Kendricks said. "Now I'm just learning what the offense is doing, little keys I can focus on that might make me have a jump."

Welcome to a global guest's Mike Wobschall welcomed Sky Sports TV NFL reporter Neil Reynolds to Minnesota State University, Mankato on Saturday.

Reynolds is based in London and covered the Vikings participation against the Steelers in an International Series Game in 2013, touring the English countryside with Kyle Rudolph, John Sullivan and Smith before the game.

He reconnected with the three players and also interviewed German-born rookie receiver Moritz Böhringer, who became the first player drafted directly from Europe by an NFL team without having played American college football. He said visiting training camps creates "pinch-yourself moments."

Reynolds discussed the globalization of the game, as well as his trek across the country. His visits to NFL training camps all include teams on the Vikings preseason or regular-season schedule (Bengals, Colts, Rams, Redskins).

"The geography is kind of all over the place but it's great fun. I love training camp because you get so close to the players, so close to the action. It certainly whets the appetite for the new season."

The interviews that Reynolds is conducting from camps will be on

Zimmer notices difference in offensive line

Zimmer likes what he sees from perhaps the biggest area of focus so far through the first two days of training camp.

Zimmer said after Saturday's practice that he's been impressed with what new offensive line coach Tony Sparano has implemented so far. 

Besides working in 'the chutes,' Sparano has incorporated 16-pound medicine balls and 35-pound sandbags into workouts so far.

But Zimmer, who spent a portion of Friday night watching practice film, also cautioned analyzing progress until after the pads go on Sunday.

The group has shown multiple starting looks as left tackle Matt Kalil, left guard Alex Boone and right guard Brandon Fusco have been mainstays early on. John Sullivan lined up at center Friday before Joe Berger did so Saturday. Andre Smith was with the first-team offense the first day before T.J. Clemmings slid in Saturday.

"I sat in there (Friday) night and watched the offensive line over and over again," Zimmer said. "We're still looking at combinations as you saw (Saturday), but I have an idea of how it's going to go. I want everybody to feel like they have an opportunity and I have to wait for pads.

"Kalil did really good, maybe the best I've seen him since I've been here. It's one day but he did some really good things," he added. "Fusco looked better to me (Saturday). Boone and Kalil did nice things together. And Andre Smith is a really good athlete. (Friday) was as good as I've seen the offensive line here in a while."

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