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3 Observations: Vikings Begin Week with 7-on-7 & 'Mustache Monday'

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings returned to action Monday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center with a walk-through/practice that was shorter than most sessions of training camp so far.

The practice included individual drills, 7-on-7 work and team "move the ball" periods.

The session was designed to get players who participated in Saturday's preseason game back in action and to ease players who are likely to get heavy work against Arizona in practices this Wednesday and Thursday into their weeks.

It also was "Mustache Monday" around the building, an initiative led by Kirk Cousins, who had orchestrated a teamwide jersey day during the offseason workout program.

Not participating: Lewis Cine, Mekhi Blackmon, Kene Nwangwu, Brian Asamoah II, C.J. Coldon, Jr., NaJee Thompson, Garett Maag, N'Keal Harry, T.J. Hockenson, Esezi Otomewo and Danielle Hunter did not participate. T.J. Hockenson was limited as he continues working through an equilibrium issue caused by an inner ear infection. Blackmon, Asamoah and Maag ran on a side field.

Returned to practice: Jalen Nailor and Jonathan Bullard returned to practice, and Jordan Addison participated while wearing a red, no-contact penny jersey.

Here are three observations from Monday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Cousins crisp

Aside from his sharp analysis on mustaches, Cousins was crisp throwing the football with connections to Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn, but he also found tight end Josh Oliver in 7-on-7 and twice in the red zone.

Nick Mullens also put a ball down the middle to Brandon Powell on the money and between defenders.

Reps were limited for the entire team, so Jaren Hall didn't take many snaps, but he and newcomer Jordan Ta'amu did make more throws during position drills.

2. Nickel and diming

With a considerable portion of practice directed toward 7-on-7, the Vikings defense used its nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs) packages.

The seven defenders with the first team in 7-on-7 were linebackers Jordan Hicks and Ivan Pace, Jr., cornerbacks Akayleb Evans and Byron Murphy, Jr., and safeties Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum and Josh Metellus.

When the Vikings shifted to dime, cornerback Joejuan Williams subbed in for Pace.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 7, 2024.

3. Respecting the jersey

Teammates made sure to protect Addison.

The ball found him twice on consecutive plays in the red zone. Pace and Murphy each laid off from making as much contact as they would have during a compete portion of practice.

The same occurred on the final play of the day, when Smith refrained from making contact with Addison.