One of the Vikings’ undisclosed injuries this spring has continued to keep safety Andrew Sendejo sidelined. Primarily rotating in his place have been Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse, until Tuesday.
The NFL’s eldest defensive back, Terence Newman, showed off his ability to play any position in the Vikings secondary when he took reps alongside safety Harrison Smith during the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp in Eagan.
Newman, who turns 40 in September, stepped in at safety during one 11-on-11 session with the starting base defense. So the Vikings continue to sort through their options at safety with Sendejo unable to practice this spring. Sendejo missed three starts last season, one due to a suspension.
Versatility obviously boosts Newman’s case for a roster spot in a crowded secondary room that returned every member and added first-round CB Mike Hughes.
“Actually you don’t even call him a corner,” head coach Mike Zimmer has said of Newman in the past. “You call him a [defensive back], because wherever he’s needed — you can play him.”
Here are more observations from Tuesday’s Vikings practice open to reporters:
-Rookie kicker Daniel Carlson had his first off day open to reporters, missing two of his four field goal attempts in full team drills. Carlson missed his first and last kicks from 35 yards and 55 yards away. Kicker Kai Forbath converted 3 of 4 attempts, missing from 46 yards. There’s no question Carlson has the upper hand (leg?) in terms of distance and power. Forbath’s edge is his accuracy.
–Mike Remmers remains at right guard, where the veteran appears to be sticking; at right tackle is Rashod Hill. The shuffle continued at left guard. Danny Isidora got the bulk of the reps on Tuesday. Remember, that’s Nick Easton’s spot, but Easton is lining up at center while Pat Elflein continues to rehab his previously fractured left ankle. So the line Tuesday went left tackle Riley Reiff, Isidora, Easton, Remmers and Hill.
-Defensive end Everson Griffen remains sidelined due to an undisclosed injury that is not expected to impact his availability for training camp, according to a source. Griffen, who was held back by a torn plantar fascia last season, has not participated in OTAs this spring. Sendejo, Elflein, defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes and receivers Stacy Coley and Jeff Badet were also sidelined Tuesday.
–Quarterback Kirk Cousins found receiver Laquon Treadwell for a couple snags on in-breaking routes during 11-on-11 sessions. Treadwell should benefit from getting first-team work as the No. 3 receiver for Cousins. “He’s caught the ball well this spring,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “He’s still got some areas where he’s got to continue to improve. He had a false start out there today and he ran one wrong route, but he’s learning the offense.” Receiver Kendall Wright, a veteran addition this offseason, has worked with the second-team offense all spring.
–Receiver Adam Thielen joined in to field some punts with the usual group of Marcus Sherels and rookie Mike Hughes. The Vikings did not use Thielen as a returner last year after he fielded six punts in 2016, including the December fumble against Dallas.
–Rookie Ade Aruna showed why the Vikings like tall and long defensive ends. Aruna reached up to deflect a Trevor Siemian pass in team drills, sending the ball toward the sideline for an incompletion. Vikings defensive ends, including Brian Robison and Danielle Hunter, have batted away plenty of passes during the handful of practices open to reporters.
–Members of the Gophers strength and conditioning staff watched practice, a week after Gophers head football coach P.J. Fleck was in attendance to watch and talk with coaches and players.