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Vikings Roundup, 6/11: Kendricks 'Further Ahead' than most Rookies

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Defenders gasped, roared and nearly went wilder.

Teddy Bridgewater appeared to have a window to connect with Mike Wallace in the middle of the field, but Eric Kendricks had other notions.

View images from the last of ten OTA's.

The rookie linebacker jumped and stretched. It was a reach, but Kendricks got two hands on the ball and nearly secured it for a dramatic interception. The play generated one of the loudest reactions of the Vikings organized team activity practices of the past three weeks.

"It was hurtful. I knew I could have caught it," Kendricks said. "It was a little bit of nervousness because I heard everyone kind of gasp. I need to make that play. I make that play nine times out of 10."

Kendricks has worked primarily at middle linebacker in the base defense and also has logged snaps when the Vikings have implemented the nickel to work on defending pass-likely situations. He was asked how comfortable he is in pass coverage.

"Maybe sometimes I'm a little too comfortable. I kind of want to cover too much too fast," Kendricks said. "I'm not patient enough. They're just trying to get my eyes right and slow me down a little bit and not be so anxious and realize I have help in certain situations and know when I have to play aggressively. I'm very comfortable in coverage and just hoping to get better as I go."

With OTAs wrapping up and minicamp awaiting next Tuesday-Thursday, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Kendricks is "further ahead than most rookies."

"(Anthony) Barr was pretty sharp last year when he came in," Zimmer said. "They're all different. Eric's been doing a good job. He's obviously got a lot of athletic ability, he's studying real hard. I think has a chance to be a good player."

Little 'helper': Bridgewater was "Wired for Sound" in Wednesday's practice. He is sometimes referred to "Teddy Two Gloves" because of his decision to wear a glove on each hand (somewhat unique for a quarterback), but it turns out he has a nickname reference for his white gloves: "Hamburger Helper."

The video recaps Bridgewater's day from the equipment room to the huddle and features multiple angles of reps. It concludes with a team breakdown in which Zimmer said he liked the way Bridgewater bounced back after a Tuesday performance that drew his ire and a position breakdown with "Qs on 3."

Outdoor opener-indoor closer: The Vikings opted to have Thursday's practice in the dry fieldhouse because of steady rains. It was a contrast to the way the team opened OTAs in the rain* *on May 26.

Up next: The Vikings will have a mandatory minicamp next week before a break until they report to Minnesota State University, Mankato for training camp. Zimmer said there likely won't be any differences from the OTA practices to minicamp practices.

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