Observations from minicamp practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots opened a three-day minicamp with a 90-minute practice on Tuesday. As head coach Bill Belchick noted in his morning news conference, the session was a continuation of organized team activities, so players were still in helmets, blue and gray T-shirts without uniform numbers and shorts.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, who both missed last Thursday’s OTA for undisclosed reasons, were back on the practice field on Tuesday.

Remaining out of action were offensive linemen Brian Waters, Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer; wide receiver Matthew Slater; linebacker Brandon Spikes; tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Daniel Fells, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, offensive lineman Markus Zusevics and linebacker Tracy White. Of these players, Mankins, Vollmer, Spikes, Slater, Zusevics, Gronkowski, and White were all on the practice field at various points doing rehab work.

Defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene appeared to suffer a left knee injury during an 11-on-11 drill late in practice. Head trainer Jim Whalen worked on Fanene on the sideline before Fanene put his knee sleeve back on and returned to watch the end of practice.

Safety Patrick Chung took punt returns for the first time this offseason, joining Julian Edelman in that role.

During 11-on-11 work late in practice, there was a small scuffle that resulted in defensive end Rob Ninkovich and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell running a lap.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer was intercepted twice in 7-on-7 drills, first by linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and then by defensive back Will Allen, who broke up another pass later in the drill.

Former Patriots wide receiver David Patten and offensive lineman Billy Yates appeared to be assisting the coaching staff during Tuesday’s practice.