MANKATO, Minn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Minnesota Vikings training camp:
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson missed practice with a foot injury, but is only expected to miss a couple of days. Patterson didn't take the team's conditioning test on Thursday because of the injury, and stood near the Vikings' receivers in a bucket hat on during Friday's practice. The injury isn't though to be serious, but the start of Patterson's highly-anticipated second season will have to wait a few days. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who started training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list, has a strained hamstring, though coach Mike Zimmer said he didn't think Munnerlyn's injury was serious.
The Vikings' quarterbacks got a chance to stretch the field on the first day of camp, but the session wasn't terribly impressive for any of them, as Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder all misfired on a number of downfield throws. Ponder threw an interception to Robert Blanton, and Jabari Price nearly intercepted a pass from Bridgewater along the sidelines. Cassel took the majority of the first-team snaps, as coach Mike Zimmer said he would, to start camp. In 11-on-11 work, Cassel finished the day 8-for-13, while Bridgewater was 6-for-9 and Ponder was 1-for-4.
Wide receiver Adam Thielen, who gained some early praise from coach Mike Zimmer after his solid work during the Vikings' OTAs and minicamp, got off to a strong start on Friday, making a diving catch on a throw over the middle. Thielen has a chance to make the team as one of the Vikings' final receivers, and has impressed the Vikings with his sure hands. "He works his rear end off, he runs his routes real hard, he catches the ball good," Zimmer said. He's got an opportunity to make this football team." Thielen, who was on the Vikings' practice squad last year, is practicing in front of a supportive audience. He played college football at Minnesota State, where the Vikings hold training camp.
Thielen, Jarius Wright and Kain Colter all got work as punt returners behind Marcus Sherels, who had his best season as a return man last year and got a two-year deal in the offseason. The Vikings love Sherels' reliability on punts, and it was easy to see why on Friday, as Wright muffed a punt from Jeff Locke.
A number of Vikings players were a little grumpy on Friday morning, thanks to a fire alarm that went off in the team's dorm around 1:30 a.m. and forced players outside. Cassel said he experienced a similar situation at one other training camp, "but I didn't leave the room that time," he said. "I smelled for smoke, I swear. I opened the door. I was trying to be sneaky." Zimmer, though, quashed a rumor he had pulled the alarm to keep players on their toes. "I told them they have to be aware of every situation that might come up, but no, that was not me," Zimmer said. "Now that I think about it I wish it was. I’ll have to use it next year."