A few hours earlier in "live" 11-on-11 play, the Purple defenders picked off three passes, easily contained highly touted No. 1 pick Adrian Peterson and put plenty of pressure on second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
"At this point in camp, you generally see (that the) defense is ahead of (the) offense, and I would say that is the case right now," noted Vikings head coach Brad Childress. "I think we are doing a great job of rushing the passer. Obviously (they are) getting their hands on a bunch of balls, and that's daunting for a quarterback. They are getting a nice push in the middle and very good coverage on the outside, so their pressures are unusual, and Leslie (Frazier) is doing a great job with mixing those things. We had some different looks today."
Childress had special praise for cornerbacks Charles Gordon and Marcus McCauley. Each returned interceptions for "scores." McCauley, the rookie who has made at least one big play each day of camp, picked off Jackson, while Gordon, a second-year pro, intercepted a Tyler Thigpen pass.
"Chuck Gordon has flashed here a few days in a row in picking off balls, and you all remember what type of camp he had before he got hurt last year," Childress said. "McCauley is usually going to make a play a day that is going to raise your eyebrows a little bit. … He has very good instincts, and he is cleaning up many of his techniques. The instinct part is hard to coach. That's there, that's innate. He is doing a nice job."
McCauley, a third-round pick, said it's a team effort.
"Basically, we're taking everything from the classroom to the field," he said. "We are holding everyone accountable for their actions. Basically, we're just having fun. You can see it out there. Guys are having fun regardless if it's this guy competing with another guy. You make a play and people are excited about it."
The defense has been making plays since camp began on Friday, clamping down especially on a first-team offense that has produced few explosive gains.
"It is a fast defense, for starters," Childress said. "You see guys racing to the football and then you've got some stoutness on the inside. I think those guys are rushing the passer as well as I have seen on the outside. Are they better (than 2006)? I don't know. I just know that they are flying around, and I like what I see from that side."
But veteran safety Darren Sharper says there's still a lot of work to do.
"We can't be satisfied with dominating periods and dominating practices," he said. "We got to take a look at ourselves and try to get better each and every day. Even though we are playing well right now, we can always try to keep getting better."
Other Tuesday afternoon notes:
"During our camps, typically, the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator are going to call any situation that is not scripted, that's not written down here on our practice menu."
Childress said he probably wouldn't talk about the play-calling situation again until he decides who will call the plays.