Vikings 2022 training camp observations: Kevin O’Connell’s impact on Kellen Mond’s no. 2 QB and more

Eagan, Minn. — The Suns were out in full force Monday, as the Vikings began their first full week of training camp practice. It was a perfect template for the thousands of fans in the TCO Performance Center, giving the local faithful a bright look at the keys to Minnesota’s 2022 season, both old and new.

For the first time in eight years, the team has a new head coach. For the first time in 10 years, it has a new general manager. A new hope has already been laid in the Midwest. But what is Kemp revealing about cautious optimism? As expected in early August, it’s probably too early to tell.

Here are some key observations from Monday’s walkthrough and padded practice:

Justin Jefferson, left, lines up against Patrick Patterson at Vikings practice.

Cody Benjamin

Not surprisingly, the Vikings’ most explosive weapon is still speed. The wide receiver’s listed weight (195 pounds, down from 202 entering the NFL) may be a technicality, but he may be getting off the line faster than ever. After displaying a flashy necklace during a morning walk-through, Jefferson showed off his separation skills in one-on-one drills, taunting rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. After going deep. It’s clear, from his own ramblings and the respect of his peers, that he is. Be the face of the franchise At just 23 years old, with fan favorites like Adam Thelen and Harrison Smith also in town.

The O’Connell effect

Several Vikings have already hinted that Mike Zimmer’s departure as head coach will lead to a more contemporary offense, with a less conservative lean on the run, and a more explosive pass. Others echoed the sentiment, discussing the influence of Kevin O’Connell, who came over from the Rams. Veteran receiver KJ Osborne told CBS Sports that the team is building “a lot of 11 personnel,” including a running back and a tight end, but the biggest change is around On how often the Vikings rotate personnel groups: “There are 12 personnel. 21. He’s very creative, moving us around, with transitions and moves.” O’Connell, as expected, was heavily involved with the offense during practice, with new coordinator Wes Phillips mixing in visible input.

Rotation at running back

The Vikings are paying good value for Dillon Cook, who now plays number one. 4 from his college days, to return his leadership. and Cook, He owes about $12 million. In 2022, has answered the call with three straight 1,000-yard seasons. But Alexander Mattison, the fourth-year backup, rotated with the starters throughout practice. He’s been a legitimate reliever for Cook, who has topped 400 rushing yards in each of his three seasons, and envisions perhaps his biggest role yet: “I’ve always had that mindset. “Going into the season, if that happens, Delevingne gets off the ball and can’t do it. Catch his wind right away,” Mattison told CBS Sports. “Throughout this season, I think we’re going to have a healthy rotation — a lot healthier this year than some past years.”

Cousins ​​on point, mond new no. 2

Things weren’t always smooth sailing for the quarterbacks on Monday. Star linebacker Eric Kendricks picked off a short, quick throw from Kirk Cousins ​​in 11-on-11 drills. Earlier, the QB’s pitch to Cook, who was not fully ready, led to a fumble in the backfield. Second-year reserve Kellen Mond, meanwhile, rattled off a snap under center in a complete team effort. But both signal callers ended the day on high notes. Cousins ​​had plenty of deep balls in two minutes of drills to spark the offense, including a last-second touchdown. And Mond, a 2021 third-round pick, scored most of the points. 2 ahead of Sean Mannion after spending almost his entire rookie season inactive.

Experienced Touch of Defence

New GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who could have been mistaken for a passive wide receiver patrolling the sidelines in active wear, had his eyes on a revitalized defense for the better part of the day. This may be where the team’s weakest strengths lie. Former Packers star Za’Darius Smith was a formidable presence working alongside the first-team linebackers in the new 3-4 scheme. Between snaps, he was working on a handshake with veteran cornerback Patrick Patterson, one of the few players who prevented Jefferson from completing that day. Former Eagles and Cardinals standout Jordan Hicks made all the starts inside with Kendricks, with Cameron Dantzler manning the first-team corner slot opposite Patterson.