Although head coach Mike Zimmer intends to remain in camp mode next week at Winter Park, the Vikings held their last practice of 2014 Verizon Vikings Training Camp on Thursday afternoon. It was a crisp, solid practice for Zimmer's squad, an appropriate end to what has been a successful camp for the Vikings.
Only one practice was forced inside during the Vikings time in Mankato, Vikings fans came out in droves to support the team during practices, and there was competitive give and take between the defense and offense and between the kicking and receiving teams in the special teams phases.
"We were able to come out and work efficiently, work quickly, move to different spots. Hopefully I learned something every day about this team, but they haven't disappointed me, they have been very willing to do whatever," Zimmer explained. "I like this team. They are good guys and they work real hard. As long as we play together as a team, we play real hard, we do the things that we are trying to coach them to do, then we have a chance to be a good football team."
All-in-all, Zimmer came away impressed with the Mankato setting during his first training camp as head coach of the Vikings.
"Mankato, the city, the fans have been coming out and cheering us on and it has been great for us," Zimmer said. "We will miss the university, the facilities here are unbelievable and it's a great setting to have a training camp."
Here are a few other notes from Wednesday and from the final day of training camp in Mankato…
Questions still unanswered?Zimmer said training camp was productive and that he learned a lot about his team. But he also acknowledged there are questions that remain to be answered.
"There is still the safety position, a little bit, that is not answered yet in my mind," Zimmer said. "There are some situations where we are tinkering around with some role player guys that we still have to figure out a little bit."
WRs put on a showVikings receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Rodney Smith collectively made three impressive catches during practice that elicited loud ovations from the crowd. Patterson's was a one-handed catch on 3rd and 3 in a team period. The defensive back was in good position, but Patterson turned his body to the line of scrimmage to remove the defender from the play, reached behind him with one hand, palmed the football and secured it for the catch before falling out of bounds. Smith went vertical to haul in a catch along the left sideline in traffic just moments later, and then in a different period made a one-handed grab of his own deep down the field.
Sherels for RobinsonMarcus Sherels took the bulk of the reps with the first team defense as Josh Robinson was sidelined with a hamstring. The hamstring injury has been a nagging one for Robinson, and it's given some of the other cornerbacks an opportunity to run with the first team.
Vikings alumni at final practiceA group of Vikings alumni were on-hand Wednesday to watch a new era of Vikings football in training. Former linebacker Matt Blair and former defensive tackle Henry Thomas, both members of the 50 Greatest Vikings Team, enjoyed the day of practice, and so too did former receivers Matthew Hatchette and Jake Reed.