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Minnesota hit the practice field Wednesday afternoon at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center for the first full-team practice of U.S. Bank Vikings Training Camp.
And although practice was under cloudy conditions and non-padded, energy was high as fans were back at practice for the first time since 2019.
Training Camp Practice: July 28
View photos of Vikings players from 2021 U.S. Bank Vikings Training Camp practice at the TCO Performance Center.
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Kicker Riley Patterson and offensive linemen Christian Darrisaw and Cole Cabral did not participate Wednesday. Patterson is on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List and cannot practice until taken off that list. Jeff Gladney was not in attendance.
Michael Pierce, Dede Westbrook and Bashaud Breeland didn’t partake in full team drills.
The Vikings are scheduled to hold afternoon practices Thursday and Friday before hosting the annual Night Practice at TCO Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Here are three observations from Wednesday’s session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Udoh highlights OL shuffle
With Darrisaw and Cabral not practicing, the Vikings were a bit shorthanded on the offensive line to open camp.
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But the most notable development within that group came when Olisaemeka Udoh lined up at right guard in the first team drill of practice. He later split reps with Dakota Dozier throughout practice, but that was a change from the offseason program when Dozier took all of the reps as the starting right guard.
Here’s how the Vikings first-team offensive line looked, from left to right: Rashod Hill, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Udoh/Dozier and Brian O’Neill.
Udoh also took some second-team reps at left tackle, but that line mostly consisted of, from left to right: Blake Brandel, Dru Samia, Mason Cole, Wyatt Davis and Evin Ksiezarczyk.
The third-team unit was Brandel, Kyle Hinton, Cole, Dozier and Zack Bailey.
Those line combinations will likely change going forward, especially when Darrisaw and Cabral return to the field, but that’s how it was on Day 1 for the Vikings.
2. An eye on the cornerbacks
As noted above, Breeland didn’t partake in the entire practice. He underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, and the Vikings appear to be bringing him along slowly.
But he turned heads in the passing drills he was involved in Wednesday, snagging an interception off Jake Browning and later knocking down another Browning attempt in the middle of the field.
Minnesota had Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler as the top corners, with Mackensie Alexander in his usual position in the slot. Harrison Hand and Kris Boyd manned the second unit.
3. Mond TD pass highlights notable plays
The Vikings eased into things a bit Wednesday, spending a good portion of the going at a walk-through pace and also installing plays.
But there were a few notable plays, including a rookie connection for an impressive score. That play came on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Mond to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in a full team drill. (It’s worth noting Mond was pressured by fellow rookie Janarius Robinson on the play, and might have been sacked in live action).
Luther Kirk also recorded a leaping interception on a deep pass intended for Smith-Marsette. The safety was slow to get up though, and later left the field on a cart.