MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will hold their first padded practice of training camp Tuesday afternoon, which means their cornerbacks will get to employ a staple of their defense -- press coverage -- for the first time in exactly seven months.
That, coach Mike Zimmer said, is "ridiculous."
NFL rules prohibit defenders from pressing wide receivers at the line of scrimmage until teams start padded practices in training camp, which means teams must use different coverage techniques during organized team activities and minicamps.
"We have guys go out and try to press every day in the games, and all through OTAs and minicamp and first two days of training camp, you can’t press," Zimmer said when talking about cornerback Xavier Rhodes. "That’s one of his better things. But it's good for him to play as much off (coverage) as we’ve had to play. I think those guys learn. We're going to look sloppy tomorrow in press because we haven't done it in (7) months, so it's something we're really going to have to work on starting tomorrow."
Rookie cornerback Trae Waynes' size and arm length made him a logical fit for the Vikings' system, but the 11th overall pick in the draft will have to go through the same adjustment period that faces many rookie corners, as he learns to walk the line between being physical with receivers and drawing penalties. In Zimmer's view, Waynes (and other young players) would be helped if they didn't have to spend part of the year unable to practice a key technique.
"That's why I said it’s ridiculous," Zimmer said. "If you're a corner and you’re trying to get better at pressing and you can't ever do that, it's really hurting your career possibly because you can't practice what you need to practice."