Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Guard Joe Berger was asked this week about continuity on the Vikings offensive line. "We've been answering this question for like four years now,'' he said. He's right. The Vikings have had to adjust for injuries to key linemen for about that long. In 2014, guard Brandon Fusco missed 13 games, tackle Phil Loadholt five. In 2015, Loadholt and center John Sullivan missed the entire season. Last year, Minnesota used five different players at left tackle.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Edmond Robinson grew up not just hoping to play in the NFL. He wanted to be an impact player. Two years after being taken in the seventh round of the draft out of Division II Newberry (S.C.) College, Robinson has that chance. He is a leading candidate to start for the Vikings at weakside linebacker.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—When Vikings rookie Marshall Koehn lined up for a 58-yard field-goal attempt in practice this week, it was a chance to make a statement. Koehn is battling incumbent Kai Forbath for the kicking job and has the stronger leg. Making one from that distance might have turned some heads. Alas, the kick drifted left.
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was quite direct when asked why cornerback Mackensie Alexander has improved this season. "He listens,'' Zimmer said Wednesday, Aug. 16. Alexander, after being taken in the second round of the 2016 draft, struggled as a rookie. This season, though, he is expected to take over at nickel back from Captain Munnerlyn, who signed as a free agent with Carolina. Reviews so far have been positive.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings soon will anoint a center for the future. When the team moved 35-year-old Joe Berger, the primary center the past two seasons, to right guard, it signified a commitment to a young player taking over the position for perhaps years to come. But will that player be third-year player Nick Easton or rookie Pat Elflein? Easton got the start in last week's preseason opener at Buffalo. Perhaps Elflein will get start Friday, Aug. 18's game at Seattle.
SEATTLE — Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott stays in touch with departed kicker Blair Walsh, but there's one subject they never discuss. On a frigid day on Jan. 9, 2016, Walsh hooked a 27-yard field-goal attempt left with 22 seconds remaining in Minnesota's 10-9 playoff loss to Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium. Walsh never seemed to recover the following season seemingly hadn't recovered, and after missing four of 16 field-goal attempts and four of 19 extra-point attempts, he was released last November and replaced by Kai Forbath.
MINNEAPOLIS — Everything is on schedule for Dalvin Cook. Just ask him. The Vikings running back said Sunday he believes he's making the progress that was expected in his rookie season. "I feel like I'm right where I need to be,'' Cook said. "I just got to keep pressing and keep working on my craft and get better. But I think I'm at the right point right now where I can just keep taking that step of being a pro.''
MINNEAPOLIS — It might not be fair to judge the Vikings' offensive line until Riley Reiff returns, but Mike Remmers is not making any excuses. Minnesota was shaky on the line in Thursday, Aug. 10's 17-10 win at Buffalo in the preseason opener. Remmers, the right tackle, allowed a sack. So did Rashod Hill, the left tackle starting in place of Reiff. "It doesn't matter (that Reiff was out),'' Remmers said. "We still should have gone out there and done a lot better than we did.''
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — As Dalvin Cook conducted an interview following Thursday night's preseason opener at Buffalo, a Vikings teammate walked by and said, "Happy birthday, rook." The rookie running back didn't put up gaudy running numbers in his NFL debut Aug. 10 — 13 yards on five rushes on his 22nd birthday — but he was pleased with the 17-10 victory and how he caught the ball. He finished with four receptions for 30 yards, and looked good latching onto screen passes from Sam Bradford.
ST. PAUL — Michael Floyd insists he doesn't feel he has to make a good impression with the Vikings on Thursday, Aug. 10. But it wouldn't hurt. The 27-year-old receiver from St. Paul signed with his home-state team in May, a month after players had reported for offseason drills, and it has taken time for him to get up to speed with the offense. With Minnesota opening its preseason schedule Thursday at Buffalo, he finally feels comfortable.