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Vikings to Open the Gates of U.S. Bank Stadium for Friday Practice

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The time of day and duration of Friday's Vikings practice is the same as any other week during the regular season.

It's the location that is sure to leave a few players wide-eyed.

The Vikings will hold practice at brand-new U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday morning, two days in advance of Minnesota's preseason home opener against San Diego. The practice will be closed to the public.

While some players have already seen the new venue, others such as running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Stefon Diggs haven't seen the new digs.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday that the session will be a logistical trial run for players and coaches alike.

"Really what I wanted to do was take them down, show them where they park, how they get to the locker room, how they come out of the tunnel," Zimmer said. "We'll have the video boards going, so that stuff is not new to them."

Zimmer said earlier this week that his main point of interest at the new stadium this season will be the crowd noise from the Minnesota faithful.

As for the physical features of the new stadium, Zimmer said the pivoting doors will be open for Friday's practice. He added he's curious how players move on the new turf as well.

"We'll try to figure out what the doors are like cause I haven't been there when all the doors are open," Zimmer said. "See if that's got any effect on anything.

"And then a little bit for the surface, I know it's the same turf as most places, but it'll be new so it'll probably be a little bit slippery, I'm guessing," he added.

The doors Zimmer is referencing are the Legacy Gates, five of the world's largest pivoting doors. They are on the west wall of the stadium and each measure 55 feet wide, containing 10 standard-sized doors apiece. They also slope from north to south at their tops, ranging from 95 feet to 75 feet tall.

Home turf

The playing surface at U.S. Bank Stadium is the same type as what is in the Winter Park Fieldhouse.

Peterson was asked if he has a preference between grass or an artificial surface and said he likes the "natural feel" of running on grass.

"It doesn't concern me that much," Peterson said.

When told that his average yards per carry is slightly higher on turf, Peterson said, "Good thing we've got turf inside our stadium, huh?"

View images from the Thursday, Aug. 25 practice at Winter Park.

Harris getting back in groove in secondary

Vikings safety Anthony Harris returned to practice Wednesday after missing almost two weeks of practice with an injury.

Harris said Thursday that he kept a positive mindset while he was out and was just happy to get back out on the field with his teammates.

"It's not frustrating," Harris said. "Things come up, and I'm just happy to be out here to finally get a rep and try and get better.

"I'm trying to focus on getting better each day," he added. "Just go out there and apply what we're doing in the meeting rooms … both in individual meetings and with the team. Just try to be in the right spot and make plays when I can."

Harris, who said he was banged up in a joint practice against Cincinnati, said his competitive nature helped get him back on the field.

"Everything feels good," Harris said. "Right now I'm just doing what I can and what the coaches ask of me and going from there."

Backup plan

An emoji-filled tweet illustrated Taylor Heinicke's excitement of shedding a walking boot this week:

The second-year pro isn't ready to run a bootleg or any other offensive play just yet, though. After earning a roster spot last year as an undrafted rookie, Zimmer said he wanted to see Heinicke compete with veteran Shaun Hill and undrafted rookie Joel Stave to be Teddy Bridgewater's backup at quarterback. An ankle injury from a "freak accident" over the summer, however, has had Heinicke sidelined.

Asked for a timeline on when Heinicke might be able to return, Zimmer said, "I honestly don't know."

"He just got out of the boot and he had surgery," Zimmer said. "He's probably six-to-eight weeks, I don't know. I mean you never know really how guys respond."

In addition to Bridgewater, Hill and Stave, the Vikings also signed Brad Sorensen on Saturday. After not fully participating Saturday or Sunday, Bridgewater and Hill returned to practice on Tuesday.

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