Training Camp

Vikings Training Camp Diary: August 2 & 3

The most important notes and key takeaways from this weekend's training camp practices.

Welcome to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Diary! Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Vikings’ training camp practices on August 2  and 3 in an easy-to-read bullet form.

Injury updates

  • DT Shamar Stephen (undisclosed) practiced for the first time this camp on Friday. He was removed from the team’s non-football injury list earlier in the day
  • DE Stephen Weatherly (undisclosed) returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s session with an injury. He fully participated in the night practice on Saturday
  • DT Curtis Cothran (undisclosed) was in pads on Saturday and fully participated in the night practice after missing four straight practices with an injury. He was mainly in with the 2’s at nose tackle
  • OL Aviante Collins (leg) has not practiced since being carted off the field on Thursday. The extent of his injury has not yet been revealed
  • DE Ade Aruna (undisclosed) was not in pads and did not practice on Friday or Saturday
  • DT Jalyn Holmes (undisclosed) left practice early on Friday and was not in pads for last night’s practice

Off day(s) for select vets

Special teams notes:

  • Punter Matt Wile has had two good days in a row. On Saturday he showed off a big leg, driving punts high and deep with ample time for his teammates to get downfield. On Friday he dropped directional punts in the corners of the field (right near the sideline) and his pin attempts danced end-over-end, making it possible for his teammates to down the ball near the goal line
  • Speaking of… Laquon Treadwell made a great play on Friday as the punt team gunner, saving a ball from going into the end zone to prevent a touchback. Treadwell appears to be a depth option at gunner while the starters (as of last night) were safety Jayron Kearse and running back Ameer Abdullah

  • Chad Beebe looks extremely comfortable returning punts. In practice on Friday he was purposefully making things more difficult on himself – he turned his back to the punter and waited to hear the kick before turning around, and also tried catching punts while already holding two footballs in his arms – and he never dropped one. He appears to be very confident with the role and is likely already penciled in as PR1
  • Dan Bailey has been steadily inconsistent. He put together a fine evening last night – making 6-of-7 of his “live” field goal attempts – but he was 6-of-8 on Friday and is now 28-of-36 (78%) during training camp. Now, you can argue he’s made 75% of his kicks the last two seasons and using multiple holders could be throwing him off, but he’s a veteran with a career average of 86.6%. It’s still fairly early but there’s plenty of room for improvement with the field goal unit

Notables

  • WR Alexander Hollins has a great couple of days. He caught everything that came his way on Friday, including a diving TD in the back of the end zone on a pass from QB Sean Mannion. Then last night he made another terrific downfield catch, also from Mannion (see below). Up to this point the UDFA out of Eastern Illinois hasn’t flashed much in camp but he may have earned himself some more opportunities following his performance this weekend

  • Onto Saturday:

    • The Vikings signed cornerback Bene Benwikere. He will wear #46
    • QB Jake Browning continued to split QB3 reps with Kyle Sloter. Browning had this highlight reel TD to WR Jeff Badet and Sloter had a nice bounce-back performance on Saturday, showing off his arm and legs under the lights
    • CB Kris Boyd had a great pass break-up on a ball intended for WR Jordan Taylor. Boyd has had a mainly-positive camp so far whereas Taylor continues to get “bodied” and pushed off routes by physical defensive backs. He has shown the ability to make some flashy catches but will need to improve on being more physical in order to be able to utilize his size, reach and athleticism
    • WR Adam Thielen continues to dominate training camp. As you’ll see in the highlights below he was getting open often, no matter the route
    • DE Ifeadi Odenigbo has had a strong camp. He’s been consistently getting pressure on the quarterback and has played the run equally well. He’s battling with Karter Schult for a depth position behind the starters and Weatherly at defensive end. Both have impressed during camp, but so far I’d bet that “Big O” is leading that race
    • Speaking of Weatherly, he was disruptive on Saturday night. Mike Zimmer said this offseason he expects a larger role for Weatherly this season and he certainly seems to be motivated this camp, perhaps by his questionable Madden rating
    • WR’s Brandon Zylstra and Bisi Johnson received reps with the 1st-team offense during the night practice

Offensive line combinations

  • From Saturday night, here are the top 3 offensive line units (by team), per Craig Peters:
    1. Reiff, Elflein, Bradbury, Kline, O’Neill
    2. Norton, Dozier, Jones, Isidora, Hill
    3. Catalina, Keenoy, Edison, Samia, Udoh

Highlights

  • From Friday, here’s your daily Stefon Diggs highlight:

  • This one is pretty self-explanatory…

  • As is this one…

  • Since there were SO many highlights from Saturday’s night practice, here’s all of them in one video – courtesy of the team’s official Twitter feed:

Reflection

  • While the defense seemed to rule the day on Friday (at least the second-half of practice), the offense struck early and often during the night practice on Saturday. The two units have been battling it out like Rocky and Apollo in Rocky II. The best part about it is how equal the fight is. After an off day on Sunday, the defense may come out and prove (once again) it’s the superior unit throughout the rest of camp, but with an upgraded scheme, bolstered offensive line and more comfortable quarterback, this offense is fully capable of proving it’s no longer the underdog it once was.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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