Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — It's time for the Vikings' offense to put their coach at ease. In two preseason games, Minnesota's first team has managed just three points on six possessions. On Sunday night, the Vikings are hoping finally to break loose. They face San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium in their third — and last for most starters — preseason game. The offense is said to be playing well in practices against the Vikings' defense, one of the NFL's best, but coach Mike Zimmer is not yet convinced.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings each year had named a Rookie of the Year at the Minnesota Football Awards banquet. That is, until the last one. No Vikings rookie did much in 2016, and so no award was handed out. Count on that changing, though, in 2017. It looks as if the Vikings will have a bevy of top rookies despite not having a first-round pick.
MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Sendejo is now Mitch Leidner's teammate. A week ago, Sendejo was his customer. Leidner, a former University of Minnesota quarterback, was working as a Twin Cities delivery driver for Bite Squad and one of his orders was to Vikings safety Sendejo. "I saw his name (on the delivery form), and I said, 'That's got to be him,'" Leidner said Monday. "So, I introduced myself.'' Little did Leidner know he soon would join Sendejo with the Vikings. They signed him Sunday after third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke suffered an injury.
MINNEAPOLIS — Running back Latavius Murray said Monday, Aug. 21 he's ready to play in the Vikings' third preseason game this weekend. Then again, Murray thought he was healthy enough last week to play in last week's second preseason game, at Seattle. Murray missed all of spring drills and the start of training camp following surgery in March on his right ankle. He returned to practice Aug. 7, but sat out Minnesota's first two preseason games.
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.