According to Ben Goessling at ESPN, the Minnesota Vikings will be holding joint practices during training camp with head coach Mike Zimmer’s former team, the Cincinnati Bengals.
The team hasn’t announced a detailed schedule beyond its July 28 reporting date and August 6 evening practice, but defensive end Everson Griffen said on Tuesday that the Vikings will only be in Mankato for 10 days. He confirmed what had been expected — the Vikings will hold a couple days of joint practices with Mike Zimmer’s former team in Cincinnati before the Vikings kick off the preseason against the Bengals on Aug. 12 — and said the team has to make the most of its short stay.
Matt Vensel at the Star Tribune caught this ten days ago, and Zimmer told KFAN in April that this was likely, but nobody (including us here at Cold Omaha) seemed to pick up on it.
The Vikings haven’t held joint practices with another team for quite some time, though some fans can fondly remember the joint practices the Vikings held with the Kansas City Chiefs for some time—long enough ago that people were anticipating the performance of a rookie Adrian Peterson.
Joint practices are difficult to organize, but they offer unique benefits—the ability to practice against completely different opponents and different schemes will be huge for developing players on a young team like the Vikings, and it will afford different perspectives with which the coaches and front office can evaluate their own players.
And it allows them to scout potential waiver-wire pickups, too.
Not only that, the joint practices allow the team to get serious reps in against an opponent they won’t see at all during the regular season or most of the postseason because teams, like the Vikings this year, schedule them against out-of-schedule non-conference opponents.
With only ten days in Mankato, that will condense the reporting schedule and will make the few practices interesting in a much different way.