4 Takeaways from Day 5 of Vikings Training Camp
The Minnesota Vikings had Sunday off from training camp after a Saturday night practice stuffed full of fanfare and controversy. The nighttime practice was a paid event for fans — one that hosted just one quarterback, Jake Browning, as the last man standing from the Vikings coronavirus-related fallout.
The franchise continued to mitigate the vaccine malarkey on Monday. More on that later.
Here are four takeaways from the fifth day of Vikings 2021 training camp.
1. Zimmer Isn’t Happy Anymore
Last week, VikingsTerritory mentioned the oddly upbeat demeanor exhibited by head coach Mike Zimmer in the first few days of camp. Well, that jolly aura is kaput, and Zimmer is back to his ultra-straightforward style.
Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond contracted the coronavirus and thus exposed seemingly unvaccinated players like Kirk Cousins and Nate Stanley. Because players have a stark choice to get the COVID vaccination — and some of them refrain — Zimmer’s mood has regressed. His outward frustration is palpable as he believes the team’s receipt of the vaccination would be an easy fix to the ongoing proliferation of COVID’s Delta variant.
Still, some players embrace the individual freedom aspect of the vaccination, relegating them to a special set of rules and precautions. And Zimmer would rather see all of his players vaccinated.
On offense, he had a skeleton crew at practice on Monday. The defense didn’t fare much better. Overall, the team didn’t perform well, he said.
"They didn't practice very good today. They have to do a lot better than they did today… We had a lot of mistakes today. Incomplete passes, giving up sacks… Defense is giving up plays to lose the game. Things like that."
–#Vikings coach Mike Zimmer
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) August 2, 2021
Of course, this is likely the culmination of the vaccination vexation for the day. The return of Cousins and Mond — while avoiding losing other players, too — might perk him up later in the week.
2. The Case of the Missing Rookie Offensive Linemen
Well, they’re not missing. Rookie Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis are banged up, disqualifying either man from making an impact in the early days of training camp.
The theorized offensive line of Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Wyatt Davis, and Brian O’Neill is point-blank on hold. Now is the perfect time for those men to begin coalescing, but the Vikings just have to wait until both players are healthy. There is no appetite to rush them back, evidently.
The wait should not be long, though.
Wyatt Davis is here and has a wrap around his left ankle. He’s getting some work done with trainers during practice. Christian Darrisaw is still not practicing. Mike Zimmer said Saturday he thought he’d be back this week but wasn’t sure on timetable.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) August 2, 2021
3. Justin Jefferson Is Just Spectacular
Fears of a sophomore slump from Justin Jefferson are real –not because of any indicators but from history. It is true that many players fail to live up to rookie-season production, and fans of the Vikings desperately want that to happen to someone not named Justin Jefferson.
His camp efforts to date show zero signs of sophomore setbacks. In fact, Jefferson looks better.
Guys Justin Jefferson in person looks ridiculous. He’s going to tear souls apart. He has every skill. How do you even begin to beat that
— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) August 2, 2021
Today, the NFL originator of The Griddy caught a pass after a Randy Moss-like adjustment.
Justin Jefferson with a GREAT adjustment mid-route. pic.twitter.com/EhxsYF5s8e
— Vikes (@vikesinsider) August 2, 2021
This stuff is becoming commonplace for the LSU alumnus. He shattered the NFL’s rookie record for receiving yards and led the league in 25+ yard receptions in 2020.
Through five days of camp, he looks even more lethal than his maiden voyage.
What’s left to determine? How many different passers will toss him a ball this summer — is the interesting question.
4. The Vikings Now Employ Six QBs
You read that correctly.
General Manager Rick Spielman now has as many quarterbacks on his roster as tight ends. The four incumbents — Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond, Jake Browning, and Nate Stanley — are joined by Case Cookus and Danny Etling.
Cookus is a product of Northern Arizona University. He was undrafted in 2020, since spending very brief periods with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. He’s in Eagan because of the coronavirus ruckus. In all likelihood, Cookus will depart the Vikings in the next month, but he was on the field today for some practice action.
— Jeff Wald (@JeffWaldFox9) August 2, 2021
Etling, an LSU 7th-Rounder from 2018, has spent his career switching back and forth between wide receiver and quarterback as a member of the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, and Seattle Seahawks. He played for the Patriots during the team’s Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Same gig for him — he is in Minnesota because Cousins, Mond, and Stanley are not.