By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Eden Prairie, MN - The Vikings held their final practice before hitting the road and hopping a plane to Kansas City for their third preseason game of the 2014 season. With final preparations taking place, below are some of the notes from today's post practice conversations with players and coaches.
Linebacker injuries provide opportunities for under studies...
With injuries spreading throughout camp as the Vikings enter their second month of preseason preparations, the linebacking corps has been hit particularly hard. This weekend the team will for sure be without Gerald Hodges and Brandon Watts and may potentially be limited by the right hand injury for veteran LB Chad Greenway. Those vacancies will provide an opportunity for second and third tier players who are fighting for a roster spot to jump up and make themselves known.
"It's an opportunity for the guys behind them to step up," defensive coordinator George Edwards said Thursday. "I know Mike Mauti gotten a lot more reps here the last week, Audie Cole has gotten a lot more reps this week, Mike Zimmer and other guys have gotten more reps...from that aspect of it, it's an opportunity for them to make the best of it...we've still got a lot of competition going on at that position.
Priefer hopes to have Cordarrelle return kicks this weekend...
To this point in the preseason, Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings phenom kick returner in 2012, had not received a single catch through the preseason. One of the most dynamic kick returners in the game is hopeful that he will get an opportunity this weekend in Kansas City.
"That's up to Coach Zimmer, but I hope so," Priefer said of Patterson returning punts. "I don't think I need to see anything from him, but I think it's one of those things that if you only do it in practice the tempo is not the same, the timing is not quite the same and a lot of our returns are timing."
Team not worried about Blair Walsh's struggles...
Despite his late season struggles in 2013 and continued struggles through two preseason game this year, the coaching staff for the Minnesota Vikings does not seemed worried about Blair's misses. Thursday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer explained that Walsh was 47-for-50 through camp so far this year. The misses have been noted and to alleviate the problems, the team has been watching Walsh's tape from 2012 and the first part of 2013.
"He's striking the ball well, he's hitting hitting the ball well," Priefer explained. "We're working a little bit part of the follow through. We'll tweak that and he'll be just fine."
Teddy admits he has a long way to go...
Despite his breakout performance last weekend against the Cardinals, Teddy Bridgewater is not letting the performance go to his head. Ready and willing to start the season on the bench if need be, Teddy continues to go about his business quietly and effectively.
"I still have a long way to go," Teddy said Thursday afternoon. "I'm not satisfied with last week's performance, I'm going to try to get better from that."
Teddy did say that the coaches took some pressure off of him last weekend by telling him to just go out there and just "let it rip."
Cassel excited for return to Kansas City...
One of the last times that Matt Cassel was on the playing field in Kansas City, he was being cheered. It was a sarcastic cheer as Chiefs fans were applauding the fact that Cassel had been knocked out of the game with a concussion. It was a single moment that encapsulated Cassel's four season stint with the Chief's. This weekend, Cassel returns to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since fans cheered his injury. Despite the bad taste left in his mouth from fans, Cassel remains excited to head home.
"I'm excited to go back to Kansas City," Cassel said. "I've got a lot of close family friends there, we enjoyed our time there my three kids were born there and we've got a lot of good memories in Kansas City."
Cassel expects to play a good chunk of time Saturday night but the players have not been told the exact play so far.