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Zimmer: Bridgewater 'Sees it, and He Lets it Go'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Shortly after Monday's high-octane practice, multiple wide receivers said the organized team activity (OTA) practice was one of the best showings the Vikings offense had produced.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was especially sharp, slinging the ball around the field to every receiver for plenty of long gains.

Following Tuesday's open practice, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said the third-year quarterback has looked sharp in OTAs.

"You know (Monday) he had a really good day," Zimmer said. "He threw the ball really, really well, and I thought he threw the ball well today, too.

"He just seems to be cutting it loose a little bit more," he added. "You know he sees it, and he lets it go. He's shown some really nice deep balls. He seems like he's, I guess, matured and he's more comfortable in everything that he does." 

Bridgewater said last week he's been focused on taking command and being a key leader on the team, which includes helping young players such as rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

Zimmer said although the Vikings are running no-contact practices, the physical Treadwell is making his mark.

"He's got a lot of football instincts," Zimmer said. "It's just how fast can you lineup here and run this route against this coverage. He's been catching the ball good."

Smith favors action over talk

With Harrison Smith signing a multiyear contract extension on Monday, he's primed to be a cornerstone of Minnesota's defense for the foreseeable future.

 The 27-year-old Smith is the only NFL player since 2012 with 300-plus tackles (311), 5-plus sacks (5.5), 10-plus interceptions (12) and four interception returns for touchdowns.

Off the field, Smith said he's grown into a trusted leader in the Vikings locker room.

"I'm not overly loud, I'm not going to stand up and give a bunch of speeches," Smith said. "I think I'm a guy that always shows up and tries to do things the right way, obviously, not going to make every play or get everything right, but I'm going to try to.

"I'm going to get better the next day, I'm going to learn from it. I think guys respect that," he added. "They've seen enough of me at this point of my career that they can trust me. Guys can ask me questions about anything and they know I'll be there for them. I think that naturally has kind of built upon itself.

Zimmer also commented on Smith's extension after Tuesday's practice.

"Well, he's a leader by example," Zimmer said. "He plays real hard. He's tough. He's smart. You know, he's like a lot of our guys."

The waiting game

Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr missed the OTA practice open to the media for the third straight week.

When asked about it, Zimmer and his humor were in midseason form. 

"It's the same thing, but the first injury report comes up September 3rd or something like that," Zimmer quipped. "So, that's when I'll give them."

Besides Barr, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, guards Alex Boone and Mike Harris, cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Mackensie Alexander, linebacker Travis Lewis and tight end Rhett Ellison did not practice.

Tuesday's top plays

A day after the Vikings defense didn't record an interception for the first time in OTAs, the unit came up with a pair of picks on Tuesday.

First, linebacker Edmond Robinson made an acrobatic leaping grab off quarterback Taylor Heinicke near the sideline.

Linebacker Chad Greenway then got in on the action, snagging a Bridgewater pass that had been tipped in the air by defensive end Brian Robison.

Here are a few other notable plays from Tuesday:

— Wide receiver Terrell Sinkfield made a toe-tapping catch on the sideline that was ruled a catch by a nearby official. The official then pointed at a mark in the grass where Sinkfield's foot had landed.

— Wide receiver Charles Johnson had a one-handed snag up the seam on a pass from Bridgewater.

— Rookie tight end David Morgan continued his strong showing with a leaping grab on an inside route.

— Wide receiver Adam Thielen and cornerback Jabari Price were alert during special teams drills as each recovered surprise onside kicks.

— Defensive end Everson Griffen had what likely would have been a sack against Bridgewater with a strong rush.

— Defensive tackle Toby Johnson batted away a pass attempt at the line of scrimmage in the closing moments of practice.

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