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Vikings Camp 3-Cap Day 5: Peterson Sees 'Different Attitude up Front'

MANKATO, Minn. — Adrian Peterson said he was "able to open up some" in his first padded practice of 2016 on Wednesday.

The Vikings had been playing it safe with the seven-time Pro Bowl running back who is out to defend his third NFL rushing title and help the Vikings claim their second division title in a row.

"It's really being smart and not rushing into it, but it happened during a workout [before training camp]," Peterson said. "Not to dwell on it because I'm back in action now, but it's really no reason to get out there and try to open it up full speed and tear something." 

Peterson and Head Coach Mike Zimmer haven't discussed whether or not the running back will take any snaps in the preseason. It sounds like he is planning on participating in joint practices with the Bengals next week in Cincinnati, but will be OK with a sideline view on Aug. 12 in the preseason opener.

"Obviously I'm not playing in the first preseason game, so we'll see what happens. You never know," Peterson said. "You go into it seeing different defenses. They don't know what you're doing. It's not like going against your own defense, and it's a competition level, so you kind of get a feel for what it is to be in a preseason game."

Peterson said he's observed a "different attitude up front" along the offensive line under the direction of new position coach Tony Sparano and with the influx of free agents Alex Boone and Andre Smith to the mix. He said the play of the offensive line stood out during a goal-line rushing drill on Monday.

"The guys are playing with more of an edge, and to me, a little more aggressive," Peterson said. "As a running back, that's how you want the guys to be up front."

Defensive awareness

It was a hot afternoon in Mankato, but it didn't slow down the Vikings defense. Rather, they brought the heat themselves.

Two of Minnesota's starting front seven hauled in interceptions during Wednesday afternoon's training camp practice. During 11-on-11 practice in the red zone, defensive end Everson Griffen jumped off the ground and tipped the ball to himself.

Shortly after, in a move-the-ball period of practice, linebacker Anthony Barr disrupted a pass down the middle intended for running back Matt Asiata and came away with the interception off the deflection.

Zimmer has stated that he wants his team to create more turnovers, and two of his returning Pro Bowlers from a year ago delivered Wednesday.

Vikings place emphasis on special teams situations

Halfway through training camp, the Vikings are leaving no stone unturned.

The team spent a noticeable portion of Wednesday's fully padded practice working on special teams, specifically a pair of punt-based situations.

The first involved punter Jeff Locke booming the ball inside the 10-yard line where a pair of gunners tried to down the ball as close to the goal line as possible. A variety of Vikings were in on the act, including Captain Munnerlyn and a trio of rookies in Laquon Treadwell, Mackensie Alexander and Moritz Böhringer.

The Vikings also worked on a drill where Locke took a snap in the end zone and ran around to kill time before taking a safety. This situation usually occurs late in a game when a team is holding a narrow lead, wants to prevent a blocked punt that could be collected for a touchdown and is trying to drain the clock.

It's no surprise to see the Vikings continue to emphasize all three phases of the game, something they have consistently done under Zimmer.

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