The Vikings quarterbacks had not committed a turnover so far throughout camp, until a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Mankato, Minnesota. Thursday marked the sixth day of camp for the Vikes, and the third day straight in full pads. Matt Cassel struggled early on in the day, throwing an interception picked off by corner, Marcus Sherels, which was intended for Cordarrelle Patterson. Not long after, Cassel was nearly picked off by Xavier Rhodes after forcing an errant pass to Patterson once again. The deficient play must have worn on rookie Teddy Bridgewater as he followed Cassel, commanding the first team offense. The Vikings first round pick completed a few quick passes early, but from then on, the growing pains showed its ugly head in the hurry up offense.
Bridgewater threw his first interception to linebacker, Audie Cole, whom actually made quite the impressive play to pick the quarterback’s pass off. Cole read the flat route perfectly, pounced in front of the pass, and took it for what would have been a defensive touchdown. That was not the only turnover of the day for the Vikings rookie. Shortly after, Bridgewater was picked off again by one of Minnesota’s free agent additions, Derek Cox. Cox was able to nab a pass intended for camp standout, Adam Thielen, during a two-minute drill. Head coach Mike Zimmer was not exactly enamored with both his quarterbacks’ play today, noting that Bridgewater was not as accurate today as he has been in camp thus far.
Despite the quarterbacks faltering, the Vikings welcomed the return of some of their key players on both sides of the football. Cordarrelle Patterson made his return to kickoff duty and prized free agent acquisition corner Captain Munnerlyn also returned to team drills and worked with Minnesota’s starting base defense. Corner Josh Robinson also made his way onto the field since injuring his hamstring on Wednesday. Unfortunately, there is not a disclosed timetable to when safety Robert Blanton will return to the team. Blanton was running with the first team defense beside Harrison Smith before the injury. The Vikes sub’d in Mistral Raymond and Kurt Coleman in to replace Blanton at the strong safety position. It is quite news worthy of what the status is with Jamarca Sanford, who was the starter last season for the team. Sanford had been dealing with some nagging injuries during the off-season, but has not missed a day of training camp practice so far in July.
Teddy Bridgewater has preached at getting better and correcting mistakes on a daily basis. Many will be on site to witness if either Cassel or Bridgewater will right the ship Friday afternoon. If anything, this may have been the opportunit needed for Christian Ponder to get himself into the mix with the other two quarterbacks above him currently on the depth chart. The first week of training camp for Minnesota ends soon, which is also only a week away from when the Vikings take on the Raiders in preseason. With the turnovers out of the way, it is really time to hone in and crank it up another notch if you are a Minnesota quarterback.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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