Day 2 of Vikings training camp didn't feel quite as exciting as Day 1, even though the crowd was bigger and brought some energy. That fresh feeling of being back out at TCO Performance Center wore off a little, and now it's all about the daily grind of these next few weeks — for players, coaches, staffers, and reporters.
Still, there are some notable performances to discuss. Before we dive into the takeaways, a few injury notes: Christian Darrisaw, Cohl Cabral, and Riley Patterson were once again present but not practicing, while Dede Westbrook and Shane Zylstra were mostly running and working out on a side field with trainers. Michael Pierce and Bashaud Breeland also haven't taken any live reps yet while they recover from injuries. Pierce said he should be back soon from the calf injury he suffered while training. No new injuries for anyone yet, which is good.
Jeff Gladney had his grand jury today, and it's expected to be announced on Tuesday if he'll be indicted or not.
Onto the observations:
Kirk Cousins has a big day
It's not surprising to see the Vikings' quarterback make excellent throws in camp, but the stretch he put together during one 11-on-11 period was particularly impressive. It began with a nice throw to Adam Thielen — right over the outstretched arms of Harrison Smith — after Cousins had rolled out all the way to the right. Then he uncorked a well-placed deep bomb to K.J. Osborn, who beat Cameron Dantzler down the field.
Finally, Cousins made another throw while moving to his right, firing one off his back foot in the face of pressure and dropping it over the top of Xavier Woods and into the hands of Irv Smith Jr. (who may have been called for offensive pass interference on the play if this were a game). It was a little reminder for the fans in attendance that Cousins has the arm talent to make just about every throw you could ask him to make.
It's also worth noting that the Osborn hype train is continuing to roll. That catch deep downfield wasn't his only nice play of the day, and he's been mixing in as the No. 3 WR with the first team while Westbrook is out.
The Vikings' running back depth is impressive
Everyone knows that Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the NFL and will see the lion's share of the touches out of the backfield whenever he's healthy. But Cook has never played every game in a season, so it's important that the Vikings have the depth behind him to withstand losing their star for a game or two. Based on what we've seen over the past couple years and now early on in training camp, that's exactly the case.
Alexander Mattison has been a high-end backup since coming into the league in 2019, and he continues to look as good as an RB can in padless practices, making decisive cuts and bursting into the open field. Ameer Abdullah had some nice reps as a runner and receiver. And the Vikings haven't missed a beat with rookie Kene Nwangwu taking over for Mike Boone, who is now in Denver. The Iowa State product is lightning quick and will look to use that speed to beat out Abdullah for the No. 3 role.
Harrison Smith got Cousins back to end practice
To wrap up their session on Thursday, the Vikings put their first-team offense and defense on the field in a situational drill in the red zone. Cousins found Tyler Conklin for a short gain, then hurried everyone to the line of scrimmage and called out some adjustments. With less than ten seconds on the clock, the play broke down and Cousins scrambled to his left, floating a pass towards the end zone that was picked off by Harrison Smith when Conklin stopped his route.
It was a little bit of revenge for Smith after he was beaten by Cousins earlier in the practice.
- Kicker Greg Joseph went five for five on field goal attempts in the short-to-intermediate range towards the end of practice. Good to see. He's going to run away with this job if he remains consistent and Riley Patterson doesn't get off the PUP list soon.
- Patrick Peterson made a nice play early on in a 7-on-7 period by breaking up a deep ball intended for Adam Thielen, drawing some big cheers from the crowd.
- Oli Udoh continued splitting first-team reps at right guard with Dakota Dozier. He had a rough rep where he got caught looking at the outside rusher on a stunt and was knocked over by Stephen Weatherly coming up the middle.
- Kellen Mond and Jake Browning continue to duke it out for the backup QB job, with both guys making some nice throws but also having a couple they'd like back. Nate Stanley can safely be counted out of that battle.
We'll be back tomorrow for one more regular afternoon practice before a night practice at TCO Stadium on Saturday and then a day off on Sunday.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all season long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.