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3 Observations: Kendricks Picks a Pair

3-observations-081219

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings worked their way through a humid session Monday afternoon at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Of the 87 players who do not have a Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) or Non-Football Injury (NFI) designation, tackles Brian O’Neill and Aviante Collins, running backs Ameer Abdullah and De’Angelo Henderson, cornerback Kris Boyd and defensive end Ade Aruna did not practice. Linval Joseph did not participate in team periods.

The Vikings are scheduled to practice again Tuesday afternoon before an off day for players Wednesday. After that brief hiatus, Minnesota will have just two more sessions of Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Click here to check on availability of free or reserve tickets for Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.

Minnesota’s second preseason game is Sunday night against Seattle, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT).

Here are three observations from Monday afternoon’s session:

1. Eric Kendricks takes two

Fans have come to expect Eric Kendricks to be right in the middle of the action. The linebacker who is preparing for his fifth pro season has led the team in tackles in each of his first four seasons.

He’s also recorded four interceptions (returning the first two for touchdowns) and 8.5 sacks.

On Monday, he managed to nab passes from Kirk Cousins not once but twice during a strong stretch by the defense.

The first pickoff occurred when the Vikings were working inside the red zone. After a run play to Dalvin Cook, Cousins tried to place a ball over the middle, but the adage about throwing to that area late came true.

Worth noting: Mackensie Alexander followed with an impressive pass breakup in the front left corner of the end zone on the following play, denying a pass to Stefon Diggs.

Kendricks didn’t wait too long before corralling another pass on a third-and-7 from the offensive 29. He looked like he’d have a great return, but after the play, Head Coach Mike Zimmer told Alexander it would have been wiped away because of a hold by the cornerback.

Zimmer has been emphasizing a reduction of penalties this week after his team was flagged a disappointing 13 times for 136 yards on Friday in New Orleans.

View images from the Vikings training camp practice on August 12 at TCO Performance Center.

2. Check again?

Fans also are used to seeing Harrison Smith disguise his intentions before plays. The safety can pose pre-snap threats near the line of scrimmage only to run back from the box at the last moment and keep it guessing.

Cousins waited patiently on a play and noticed Smith backing out and fellow safety Anthony Harris running up from the other side of the defense.

The quarterback appeared to change the play at the line of scrimmage and handed off to Dalvin Cook for a run toward the area that Smith had just vacated.

The only problem, or problems, for Cook, however, were defensive end Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr were there to limit the gain.

The play illustrates an effective defense with Pro Bowlers at each level.

3. Teeing up from 62

The Vikings did not have team field goal or punting drills on Tuesday, the first day with newly acquired punter/kicker Kaare Vedvik on the fields.

Vedvik did some work on a side field using a tee to hold the football and drew some oohs and aahs from the new fan base on kicks from 60 and 62 yards.

The Norway native, who spent his junior season as an exchange student at McPherson High School (Kansas) and returned home for his senior season before playing college football at Marshall, was asked about his range.

“I just back up far, and my aim is to make it through the uprights,” Vedvik said. “That’s kind of how I view it out there. I don’t really look at the distance, I just kick it and try to make it through.”

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