Vikings

Day Two Training Camp Notebook: Offensive Success Might Prove Importance of Padded Practices

In what could be an essential repeat of the prior day, the offense found itself winning the day much more often than not. Once again, the Vikings seemed to emphasize deep throwing and we could be at a point where Bridgewater and the quarterbacks have started to develop a reasonable resume with which to evaluate any improvements in the deep ball.

I’ll hold off from any conclusive stuff until I take a closer look at Bridgewater himself, instead of just the results of his passes, but so far the early returns are positive.

Notably, the success of the receivers and the offense overall may be inflated by the rules set up in camp, with “sacks” awarded by touching the quarterback and ignored so the play can continue. With that in mind, backup quarterback Shaun Hill and Bridgewater can play around with having a bit more security in time while they wait for their receivers to break open deep.

Twice it seemed like Bridgewater should have been sacked on an otherwise nice play going deep, and Shaun Hill also benefited from the permissive offensive camp rules.

The day’s takeaways are not much different from the first day, and the offensive units continued to showcase success against the defensive units, though the particular names in question have changed.


Offense

Quarterbacks

While we wait for a higher volume of deep passes to confirm what we’ve seen in the first couple of days, the temporary returns are extremely positive. Bridgewater found himself inaccurate on perhaps two of his deep throws, which still gives him a very good rate of accurate throws on passes over 25 yards.

I’ll wait for a deeper analysis of Bridgewater before I say anything definitive, but like I said yesterday: this is what improvement looks like at the beginning.

Everyone seems to be aware of the deep pass to Jarius Wright, which was indeed pretty fantastic.

Teddy continued his overall trend of showing intermediate and short accuracy, which never seems notable until you see some of the other quarterbacks throw the same routes without the same timing or ability to lead receivers.

He of course had an interception that I couldn’t see the full context of given the viewing angles, but the Vikings official Twitter account gives us a better view:

Other people in the stands say it was simply an athletic play by Kendricks, but I think there’s room both for praising Kendricks as well as criticizing Teddy for not throwing it a little higher and further away, especially given Rudolph’s height and length advantages. Kendricks definitely deserves plaudits, however.

As for Joel Stave and Shaun Hill, they continued to disappoint. Neither Hill nor Stave were as bad as they were yesterday, but they didn’t redeem themselves, either. Hill found his passes sailing and Stave had errant accuracy. Hill seemed more settled in response to pressure over the previous day.

Receivers

Stefon Diggs looked fine before his minor injury and didn’t look too bad afterwards, but he did seem to have more focus issues after he returned to the field, including a drop. Not a big deal, but something to to add to the heap of information we have.

Laquon Treadwell had what I would call another “mixed” day, but I don’t mean anything negative by it. His highs and lows were not as high or low as they were yesterday, but he did match some of his successes with some minor failures. He high-pointed the ball like the Vikings drafted him to do, but he also had a couple of drops.

While those two are the more intriguing receiving options, both Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen are making good cases for playing time. Johnson once again had another good day, though his work in contested spaces wasn’t as good as it was on the previous day. Thielen recovered from a bad day and showcased the kind of fluidity that gets veteran receivers open.

Stefon Diggs Running

Yesterday, Luke and I talked about the versatility that having both Thielen and Diggs on the field brings—they can switch in and out of the slot with equal effectiveness, and there was some of that motion today.

Jarius Wright had a very good day as well, with the deep ball above highlighting his work. He did drop another pass that was outside of his frame again, which is something to keep track of.

Other than that, there was some positive work from Isaac Fruechte, and Terrell Sinkfield adjusted well to an overthrown Stave pass to reel it in.


Defense

Defensive Backs

It wasn’t a good day for the defensive backs once more, but Xavier Rhodes seemed to have a better day. He responded better to the variety of routes he was presented with, and backed that up not just with pass deflections but with generally tight coverage. He worked well with a few different coverages and held down his receivers.

Unfortunately, both Terence Newman and Trae Waynes had poor days. Newman had to deal with his speed issues at times and sometimes lost his receivers at the stem as well. Not a great showing, but he did show the ability to adapt to the problems he had and did improve a little bit over the course of practice.

Waynes on the other hand seemed to consistently find himself out of position and even seemed to diagnose a coverage incorrectly, showing up at the wrong zone while his receiver broke free. He also found himself the victim of speed and saw at least one player get behind him, if not more. Predictably, he had issues covering in-breaking routes like he did the rare times he was asked to cover those at Michigan State but many of them seemed to be against tight ends, which doesn’t seem entirely fair to evaluate.

Mackensie Alexander has had a poor two days, and though neither day was as bad as Waynes’ or Newman’s day today or Rhodes’ day yesterday, he probably had the worst overall over the two days. He finally got some outside work as the coaching staff moved Jabari Price out of the second team at least temporarily, and if they like what they see in the long run from Alexander, he could grab an outside spot.

Harrison Smith may not be happy with his performance, as he bit on the wrong route on the Jarius Wright touchdown and had one or two more issues aside. Andrew Sendejo was pretty quiet, which is probably a good sign for him.

Jayron and Ant Harris

While Antone Exum continued to seemingly struggle, both third-team safeties excelled. Harris took charge of the underneath zones he struggled with on the previous day, while Kearse took advantage of his length—especially on a third down attempt by Stave to Terrell Sinkfield. Kearse muscled his way into the pass deflection while also knocking Sinkfield to the ground.

Harris also looked fluid and speedy in drills. I was able to confirm that he has gained additional weight this past offseason and is very close to his target weight entering the season. Harris filled in well in the run game, but his coverage really stood out among the third team.

Other Notes

It’s hard not to love the work that running back Jerick McKinnon and linebacker Eric Kendricks put in today. Kendricks grabbed the highlight interception you saw above and should look to build on that going forward.

Quick lineup note: Andre Smith and John Sullivan played second-team snaps while T.J. Clemmings and Joe Berger grabbed first team reps at right tackle and center respectively. It’s just part of the offensive line shuffle that was promised, but it’s hard to believe that Clemmings and Berger will win those spots outright. The defense stayed the same, except we saw more outside snaps for Mack Alexander on the second team.

I didn’t get to see much of Jabari Price, Moritz Böhringer or other players of note, but it looks like tomorrow will be a day to drill in on the offensive and defensive lines.

Vikings
Do We Actually Wish the Vikings Lost That Playoff Game In New Orleans?
By Tom Schreier - Jun 26, 2022
Vikings
Brock Lesnar’s Tryout Was The Perfect Prelude For the 2004 Vikings
By Chris Schad - Jun 25, 2022
Vikings

Ndamukong Suh Would Raise Expectations for the Vikings

On Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings unexpectedly found themselves fully entrenched in the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes. After spending the past three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers […]

Continue Reading