The Minnesota Vikings returned to practice Sunday after their first preseason game, with a handful of players that were held out Friday night back on the practice field.
The Vikings held out 14 players on Friday – WR Jarius Wright, CB Terence Newman, RB Adrian Peterson, CB Melvin White, CB Marcus Sherels, S Anthony Harris, LB Edmond Robinson, LB Eric Kendricks, LB Brandon Watts, G Brandon Fusco, DT Sharrif Floyd, DT Claudell Louis, WR Cordarrelle Patterson and DT Scott Crichton – most of them because of injuries.
On Sunday, Patterson, Peterson, Newman, Sherels and Robinson returned to practice, with all of them resuming their regular roles. Newman and Peterson were back with the starting defense and offense, respectively, while Patterson, Sherels and Robinson were working with the backups, as they had been during training camp. But Kendricks, Fusco and Floyd still remained sidelined among those expected to start, and were joined by LB Emmanuel Lamur and rookie CB Tre Roberson as inactive players on Sunday.
But there was one change to the starting lineup the Vikings practiced with on Sunday: T.J. Clemmings was back working with the first-team offense at right tackle after it appeared that Andre Smith had taken hold of that job. However, Smith was beaten for a sack of Teddy Bridgewater Friday night and the Vikings may want to get a longer look at Clemmings in game action with the first-team offense.
For the most part, the first preseason game is about assessing the younger players, and there were plenty of plays for them.
“Kearse has been doing good. I think all along he’s looked good and athletic to me,” Zimmer said. “We’ll just keep working him.”
Veteran Michael Griffin, in his first year with the Vikings, got some looks at free safety on Friday. While Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo continued to get the first-team reps at safety, Kearse was a staple with the second-team defense in Sunday’s practice.
Zimmer said Kearse looked the best of the younger guys.
Rookie CB Mackensie Alexander, the second-round pick this year, also had an interception on Friday and received a favorable review from Zimmer on Sunday.
“He competed well, was tight in coverage for the most part, kind of did what we were trying to ask him to do,” Zimmer said.
Last year’s first-round pick, Trae Waynes, got extensive action with the starters while filling in for Newman on Friday. While Zimmer said Waynes did well “for the most part,” he continued to call for tighter coverage from his cornerbacks.
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“There was some situations that I showed him in film today, same thing happened to Xavier (Rhodes). We’re off the guy and they catch a 4-yard hitch and it’s a 9-yard gain and now it’s third-and-3,” Zimmer said. “So we have to be smarter in some of the things that we’re doing but he’s doing good.”
- Kearse nearly had an interception on Sunday after undercutting a route by WR Troy Stoudermire.
- Sherels had an interception when he undercut an Adam Thielen route on a throw by Shaun Hill.
- RB Jhurell Pressley was back with the team after leaving last week because of a death in his family.
- Blair Walsh went 8-for-8 in his field goal attempts from 33 to 51 yards.
- Everson Griffen looked dominant in both full-team work against Matt Kalil and in one-on-one drills. He had three touch sacks of Bridgewater, one on the first play of one full-team session, but Bridgewater unleashed the ball downfield for Stefon Diggs after that and Rhodes intercepted the pass.
- In 7-on-7 work, Bridgewater hit Johnson for a 30-yard pass with Sendejo nearby, while Griffin and Jake Ganus each registered interceptions.