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Vikings to Have Joint Practice Against 'Similar' Team in Bengals

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings announced Thursday that they will partake in a pair of joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals in August before the teams play each other in the preseason.

The Bengals will be a familiar foe for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who was Cincinnati's defensive coordinator from 2008-13 before being named Minnesota's head coach.

Zimmer said the amount of respect between himself and Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis was a key component in scheduling the practices.

The teams will practice in full pads on Aug. 10 and in shoulder pads and helmets on Aug. 11. They will each then play their first preseason game in 2016 against the other.

"Marvin and I have a great relationship. We talk a lot," Zimmer said. "You know the players there I have a lot of respect for and I believe they have respect for me.

"So, I think that we'll be able to practice the right way," he added. "There won't be any issues that way because they know I'll still get after it too."

Zimmer said practicing against the Bengals will almost be like looking in the mirror. Both teams feature strong defenses and each won their respective divisions in 2015.

"One really good thing you know is that we're similar, so it's not like you have to prepare that much especially defensively," Zimmer said. "You know the one good thing about me is I know their players pretty well and so when our guys are going against their players I think I'll be able to have a good evaluation.

"There's quite a few of them that are still there that are playing and the evaluation part for me will be big," he added.

The Vikings have five weeks off before heading to training camp in Mankato on July 28. Minnesota will have 10 days of practice in Mankato before traveling to Cincinnati.

By then, defensive end Everson Griffen said, the Vikings will be ready to face off against someone else.

"This is my seventh season and I've never done a joint practice with any other team," Griffen said before getting humorous. "But I get tired of seeing No. 75 (Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil) all the time."

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