Joel Stave Runs First, Second and Third-String Offenses at Practice

It’s not a sentence any Minnesota Vikings fan ever thought they’d hear, but as this story’s title suggests, the undrafted rookie from Wisconsin, Joel Stave, who was fourth on the depth chart before training camp, was the only quarterback to throw a ball in team drills on Saturday afternoon at Winter Park.

After curiously not playing on Thursday evening — reportedly due to a sore shoulder — Bridgewater suited up for Saturday’s practice but only handed the ball off. This would support the prospect of Bridgewater having a minor injury, but Mike Zimmer, who refused to give a reason for his quarterback’s absence in Thursday’s game, stayed mum. “I don’t know, I’m not going to talk about injuries,” Zimmer said when pressed about Bridgewater’s shoulder. “Teddy could have played [Thursday], but I decided not to play him.”

Backup Shaun Hill, the starter on Thursday, received a “vet day,” according to Zimmer, and only wandered out at the end of practice.

The team announced shortly before Saturday’s practice session that they’d signed QB Brad Sorensen, a former seventh-round pick of the San Diego Chargers out of Southern Utah. Sorensen, wearing No. 4, presumably will become the team’s fourth camp arm with Taylor Heinicke currently out with an ankle injury. Sorensen did not, however, participate in team drills. No surprise, since it was his first day of exposure to the Vikings’ offense. “We usually have four in camp,” said Zimmer, “and because of what happened to Heinicke, we were short.”

So that left Stave to engineer most facets of the Vikings’ offense on Saturday — a great opportunity for a guy who still seems like a long shot to make the 53-man roster. The former Badger did his best to take advantage of the chance. Notably, he dropped in roughly a 30-yard pass to Stefon Diggs along the sideline, right between the corner and the safety. On the negative side, he tossed an interception at the end of the practice to Jayron Kearse on an overthrow.

Other Nuggets…

  • Jarius Wright returned to the field after missing two preseason games with an injury, but Adam Thielen continued receiving first-team reps. “It’s an opportunity to get better and try to prove myself,” said Thielen.
  • Brandon Fusco made his own return to the lineup, slipping back in at right guard. Joe Berger, however, stayed with the 1’s at left guard with Alex Boone missing practice due to a personal issue. It will be interesting to see who plays right guard once Boone returns.
  • Michael Griffin got second-team reps alongside Jayron Kearse at safety after starting Thursday’s preseason game.
  • Sharrif Floyd and Eric Kendricks participated in light drills today. Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) did not participate after suffering an injury on Thursday.
  • Blair Walsh went 7 of 8 in his end-of-practice kicking session. His lone miss? From 47 yards, the same distance he missed from in Seattle.

Photo Credit: Luke Inman

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