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Vikings Camp Three-cap Day 4: Handling Heat in the Pocket

MANKATO, Minn. — The humidity that blanketed Vikings training camp Tuesday lifted considerably Wednesday, and so did some of the heat that Teddy Bridgewater experienced in the pocket.

Vikings pass rushers were still firing off the line of scrimmage in the team's second day in pads, but they also were better and pumping the breaks.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday that guys were "geared up" on their first day in pads and got too close to Bridgewater too often in the first time in pads of 2015.

"We have to learn how to practice in pads continually," Zimmer said. "There was a couple times that were too close. Sharrif (Floyd) bumped into a guard, and he kind of bumped into Teddy and Teddy went on the ground one time. So we have to be smart about that."

Handling heat in the pocket, however, is part of the game for a quarterback

"The thing about putting on the pads is you get a feel for those rushers," Bridgewater said. "When you're not in pads they have to pull up sometimes and really stay away from the quarterback, but when you get the pads on you know those guys are fighting in the trenches so you know you have to play fast or get the ball out of your hand much faster and just be back there relaxed." 

Bridgewater was sacked a total of 39 times in his rookie season, including 13 takedowns in his second and third career starts. He worked on adding muscle mass* *this offseason, with Zimmer saying the quarterback focused on reps instead of pounds when lifting.

The offensive line went through five different starting combinations, but was able to establish more continuity by the season's end.

This year, the Vikings have moved Brandon Fusco (who missed the final 13 games last season because of injury) from right guard to left guard and are looking for a replacement at right guard. Mike Harris, a backup tackle last season who played guard at Buffalo, opened camp at the role.

Vikings coaches have four days of practice film to review and assess performances while players have Thursday off.

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner told KFAN's Paul Allen and Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall on the 9 to Noon show there are some other aspects that can help pass protection.

"We're working hard on the quick passing game to complement our deeper, up the field game," Turner said. "We need to do that to help our protection. We play some really good pass rush defenses and we've got to do a better job in protection. Some of that is individuals have to do better, some of that is we have to help them."

PETERSON'S POSSIBLE LONGEVITY:

NFL Network on Wednesday aired an interview that Adrian Peterson did with Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk in which Peterson said he "started off slow" in a 9-on-7 drill but "felt a little spark."

"It was decent but really didn't feel as explosive as I would have liked so I kind of had to grind," Peterson said. "Normally I do my hulk, little grind, wake myself up and felt a little spark and kind of got back into the groove."

Turner told Allen and Wobschall he thinks the Vikings are "going to be a very good inside running team" and are "working on outside runs."

"He said he was a little rusty," Turner said. "I can't wait to see the rust get off because he looks awfully good to me."

Veteran cornerback Terence Newman also was a 9 to Noon guest for a different segment Wednesday and discussed Peterson. Newman, 36, is the oldest Viking and said he sees longevity in the 30-year-old running back's future.

"When you see him in person, you're like, 'Whoa!' This guy is sculpted. He takes care of himself," Newman said. "I heard where he said he can play until he's 37-38. He can probably play until he's 40."

CELEBRATION OF FANS, COUNTDOWN

The Vikings welcomed a group of fans that won @usbankstadium's #VikingsBiggestFan contest to practice Wednesday, a year from the scheduled completion date of U.S. Bank Stadium.

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