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Vikings WRs Go from Imaginary Dunks to Real-Deal Catches

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The scene is the same before each practice.

Vikings wide receivers huddle together minutes before each session begins, partaking in a lighthearted yet motivational moment.

One receiver will give a short speech before the group breaks into a move that is described as some sort of hybrid dance maneuver.

Each receiver slides away from the circle while dribbling an imaginary basketball between his legs. They then slide back together and simultaneously dunk the ball in an imaginary hoop. 

"You got to have fun out here," said wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. "It can be long and stressful days out here, but when you're having fun, the days go by fast."

Jarius Wright is the team's longest-tenured wide receiver and said the breakdown has been passed down over the years. This year's group added a different twist to it, however, with the dribble and dunk routine.

"It was here before I even got here," Wright said. "They said Randy Moss used to do it when he was here, if that means anything.

"We just have a good time doing it," he added.

The laid-back atmosphere started Monday's session, but each snap was serious as the Vikings offense was clicking on all cylinders.

Charles Johnson hauled in a long touchdown pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before Wright made a tumbling catch for a score on another deep pass from Bridgewater.

"We had a lot of catches today," Patterson said. "I feel like every receiver had four catches apiece.

"Today was a good day looking back on it, but there's always little things we can fix," he added. "I hope every day is a great day for us, not just today." 

Wright said the competitive nature comes out during practice. If one receiver makes a dazzling catch, the others want to make a play, too.

"I wouldn't say it's our best day, but we did have a really, really good day," Wright said. "We looked real good as an offense.

"If one guy comes out and makes a play, then everybody else is anxious to make a play," he added. "That's a good thing, and we can feed off things like that."

Monday's top plays

The offense shined in Monday's session, as Johnson, Wright, Patterson, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell and Marken Michel each made notable catches.

The defense had their moments as well. Here are a few highlights from practice:

— Linebacker Eric Kendricks dove to bat away a pass intended for wide receiver Moritz Böhringer.

— Cornerback Terence Newman leapt to tip away a sideline pass intended for Michel.

— Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was draped all over Johnson on a pass down the left sideline as Rhodes used excellent body position to wall Johnson off from the ball. Rhodes also had great coverage on Diggs earlier in practice.

— Safety Antone Exum, Jr. nearly intercepted quarterback Shaun Hill but only managed to knock the ball away.

— Rookie defensive end Stephen Weatherly likely would have had a sack during a quick edge rush on the left side of the offensive line.

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