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Vikings Tackles Facing Tough Tests Daily from Edge Rushers

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings have had two preseason games so far against teams with highly-touted defensive lines that implement a 4-3 base front.

After allowing pressure, including a sack of Teddy Bridgewater, on the first three snaps of the game at Cincinnati, the offensive line collectively allowed one sack at Seattle and kept the pocket tidy for Shaun Hill and Joel Stave.

"I think we did some good stuff with pass protection," right tackle Andre Smith said. "There's always room to improve in the run game, but I think we did some really good stuff, as far as keeping the quarterback clean the entire night."

In addition to battling the Bengals and the Seahawks in road games, the group has encountered multiple tough tests closer to home — from players in the same locker room.

The Vikings tackles have faced tough matchups throughout camp with Everson Griffen, Brian Robison and Danielle Hunter from the edges of the defense. Griffen, Robison and Hunter were just part of an effective pass rush in Seattle that totaled six sacks and eight quarterback hits.  

With the anticipation of starting Matt Kalil at left tackle, Alex Boone at left guard and Brandon Fusco at right guard, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has been evaluating competition at the center and right tackle positions. Minnesota opened Sunday's practice with Joe Berger at center and Smith at right tackle with the first team and with John Sullivan and T.J. Clemmings, respectively, with the second team. Clemmings later slid into left tackle with the first team.

Smith has worked against Robison and Hunter, and Clemmings also has worked against Griffen in team drills this offseason. What do they think of the Vikings edge rushers?

"You get a little bit of power and speed from B-Rob and a lot of speed from Danielle," Smith said. "Both of them are great rushers and are getting me prepared."

Clemmings noted that Hunter is longer and continues to get better at taking advantage of his frame, but said there's a certain explosiveness from Griffen.

"He's a great player," Clemmings said. "You know he's watching you and reacting off what you do, so you have to try your best and make sure your sets are as good as possible, your hands are as good as possible and kind of shoot them and get a good punch on him. He's a great athlete and has been around for a while and he will be around for a long time."

Clemmings started all 16 games for the Vikings at right tackle last season.

Minnesota's tackles should get a little different look next Sunday when the Vikings host the Chargers, who operate out of a 3-4 base front, in the first football game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Pressley's first impression

Rookie running back Jhurell Pressley studied YouTube clips of the likes of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Le'Veon Bell, hoping to one day play in the NFL.

Pressley had his first opportunity to carry the football on Thursday as a teammate of Peterson and in the former home stadium of Lynch.

"It was good experience. I was just ready to play," said Pressley, adding that not too much surprised him about the experience.

He is, however, continuing to adjust to a pro-style offense after being a key prong of the triple option at New Mexico. Pressley said he's learning from the more experienced players like Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and fullback Zach Line.

They've all got different styles of running that make them unique backs," Pressley said. "There's a lot of good guys in there to help us out."

Pressley rushed for 6, 5 and 12 yards on his first three carries and totaled 28 yards on six attempts.

"You get a momentum when you start moving the chains, and when that momentum picks up, a lot of good things start happening," Pressley said. "You start feeling yourself and hitting the right reads. The momentum was on our side, and we were just pushing it."

Treadwell ready for home crowd

First-round pick Laquon Treadwell was introduced to the passion of Vikings fans the day he arrived for a radio appearance and then again throughout training camp practices. He's looking forward to the next "first" in his career — a home game.

"Just playing, having fun, doing my best and making plays for the team, seeing the fan interaction and feeling the vibe," said Treadwell when asked what he's expecting in front of the home crowd.


"U.S. Bank Stadium, I went to the Luke Bryan concert the other night with my daughter, a phenomenal place. I had been there on a tour once before. All I kept thinking about is where Cordarrelle [Patterson] is going to be standing for the opening kickoff, where Blair [Walsh] was going to kick the ball on kickoffs, and where we're going to punt the ball directionally. No, it's a beautiful venue. It was a great place to see a concert, and it's going to be even more fun next Sunday afternoon." — Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

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