Wed, 28 Sep 2022

3 Observations: Kene Nwangwu Returns as Vikings Go with Flow

Minnesota Vikings
07 Aug 2022, 21:37 GMT+10

The Vikings conducted their 9th practice of 2022 Training Camp on August 6.Craig Peters

EAGAN, Minn. - The Vikings adjusted their schedule and worked around a couple of power outages at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center as training camp slogged through a soupy Saturday.

Inclement weather in the morning forced the closure of the session to fans, and Head Coach Kevin O'Connell moved the outside session up in the day to conclude around the time practices have been starting.

It didn't rain during the session, but the air was thick with dampness (96-percent humidity).

Minnesota thought about holding the full-pads session in its Indoor Practice Facility but eventually decided to conduct the session outside.

The audibles provided an opportunity for Vikings players and coaches to adjust on the fly and go with the flow.

Running back Kene Nwangwu returned to action after not practicing for four sessions, a stretch that began Aug. 1. He had been working out on a side field as Minnesota took care to help him progress from what was described as a soft-tissue leg injury. Nwangwu looked fluid on runs and receptions out of the backfield.

Receiver Myron Mitchell worked on a side field. He had participated in 1-on-1s but not team drills on Friday.

Receiver Blake Proehl and linebacker Ryan Connelly remain on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

Here are three observations from Saturday's session presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:

1. Jefferson OK with Louisiana-esque

It's probably hard to count the number of football practices Justin Jefferson has been through in conditions more humid than a gumbo pot.

The Louisiana native looked right at home on multiple types of routes and recording catches from Kirk Cousins.

Jefferson's best route occurred on a double move down the field that resulted in a long completion from Cousins against Kris Boyd when the first-team offense was working against the second-team defense. If thrown just a hair sooner, it would have been an undisputed touchdown.

2. Defense records stops

The Vikings first- and second-team defense recorded stops in Saturday's situational drill.

The offense took the ball at its 25 with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter and trailing 24-20.

Armon Watts came through with a nice rush on first-and-10 when it was 1s-vs.-1s. Cousins followed with a pass to Jefferson for a first down before an incompletion and a short pass to Dalvin Cook, who was ruled to have gotten out of bounds.

Cousins scrambled on third down and used a timeout.

Undrafted free agent Luiji Vilain made the most of a rush from the edge to record what would have been a sack to finish the drill.

Kellen Mond quarterbacked the second team down the field thanks to completions to Ty Chandler, Trishton Jackson and Jalen Nailor, but Mond was picked off by linebacker Blake Lynch to end the session.

Mond also was picked off earlier in practice by safety Camryn Bynum. The second-year quarterback bounced back with a couple of nice completions to Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

3. Building block by block

Toward the end of a pass rush drill, the Vikings teamed Watts with Za'Darius Smith to go against left tackle Christian Darrisaw and left guard Ezra Cleveland.

Watts and Smith won the first rep, but Darrisaw and Cleveland rebounded on the second rep.

It was a quick snapshot of what adding Smith to the mix can do for Minnesota's pass rush and how Darrisaw and Cleveland are jelling together on the left side of the offensive line.

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