A daily dispatch from Eagan
Overcast and under-informative
The Vikings returned to their Eagan practice fields under overcast skies and with an odd, under-informative stance on a trade they made that Baltimore announced and the Vikings scrambled to make sure no one commented on until Monday, when former Ravens kicker-punter-holder Kaare Vedvik shows up. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was on hand sporting an old-school purple Vikings T-shirt that he appears to have owned since the ’70s. And an even bigger celebrity than a governor — Vikings Hall of Famer Alan Page — also watched practice.
Stephen returns to team drills
Half of the Vikings’ interior defensive line finally saw action in the team portion of practice. Three-technique tackle Shamar Stephen, whom the Vikings are counting on to make fans forget not being able to pay now-Cleveland Brown Sheldon Richardson, took part in the 11-on-11 segments of practice. Meanwhile, nose tackle Linval Joseph, who’s coming off shoulder surgery, remains limited to individual work.
Offense flops in red zone
Sunday’s situational period put the offense down 23-17 with the ball at midfield. Quarterback Kirk Cousins maneuvered the first-team offense into the red zone with a long pass to a well-covered Adam Thielen. But the defense held on downs when Cousins overthrew Stefon Diggs in the end zone with cornerback Xavier Rhodes defending.
Hughes looks close to returning
The Vikings are being extremely careful with Mike Hughes, who could be their No. 3 corner this year and the ideal Plan B that allows Trae Waynes to walk after this season. But Hughes, who is coming off multiple torn ligaments including an ACL, looks close to being able to return. Still on the physically-unable-to-perform list, he spent Monday’s practice working more aggressively than he has all camp with athletic trainers off to the side. During one drill, he hopped up steps, two at a time, without wearing his knee brace.
“Excuse me. It’s Coach Parcells calling. … I should answer this and say, ‘Here, do this press conference.’ ” – Coach Mike Zimmer, whose Apple Watch rang during Sunday’s news conference. With one push of a button, Zim quickly hung up on his mentor, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells.
Among active players, running back Ameer Abdullah, cornerback Kris Boyd, defensive end Ade Aruna, right tackle Brian O’Neill, backup tackle Aviante Collins and defensive tackle Armon Watts did not practice because of injuries. Hughes and tight end David Morgan remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Defensive end Tashawn Bower is still on the non-football injury list. Running back De’Angelo Henderson was not at practice and is expected to be the player released to make room for Vedvik.