MANKATO, Minn. -- After seeing limited playing time in the first two weeks of training camp, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn didn't play at all on Sunday night in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. And while the Vikings' first-team defense played just three snaps on Sunday, coach Mike Zimmer's response was a bit puzzling when he was asked about it on Tuesday.
"That's a good question," Zimmer said. "We planned on him playing the 4-2 [defense] and [Terence] Newman playing the nickel on third down and we didn't get any in that series. And then I pulled the rest of the guys out."
The Vikings brought five cornerbacks in on third down, and moved Newman into the slot, but put Trae Waynes at left cornerback. Munnerlyn had dealt with a foot injury at the end of minicamp, and defensive coordinator George Edwards attributed his limited time early in camp to "nagging injuries."
But a year after the Vikings signed Munnerlyn to a three-year contract, it seems he might not factor into their plans as prominently as he once did. He started in their base defense a year ago, but both Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have said they see Munnerlyn as a slot cornerback at this point. At the moment, he's struggling even to get work in that role. It's worth watching how the Vikings handle Munnerlyn the rest of the preseason.
Here are some other notes from the Vikings' Tuesday practice:
Tight end MyCole Pruitt, who scored a 34-yard touchdown during Sunday's game, said he tried to keep the ball as a memento. But teammates told him "it doesn't count because it's preseason," Pruitt said. Care to name names, rookie? "Teddy Bridgewater said that," Pruitt said.
Rookie Tyrus Thompson struggled on Sunday night, getting driven to the ground by Cam Thomas on his first play from scrimmage and showing some confusion on a blitz pickup. He also appeared to be the player who didn't get on the field before Blair Walsh's 48-yard attempt, leading the Vikings to call a timeout. Asked to assess the play of his three rookie linemen, Zimmer said, "[Austin] Shepherd was efficient. [T.J.] Clemmings, I thought, had a good night. Thompson needs to do better."
Stefon Diggs continued to get work as a punt returner during practice on Tuesday, and muffed one punt as he tried to adjust to a tricky wind. Diggs has been a scene-stealer at camp and nearly scored on a 62-yard punt return on Sunday, but special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer said he'll have to demonstrate consistent ball security to unseat punt returner Marcus Sherels, who has earned Priefer's trust over the past four seasons. "I need to see him do it more. I’m sure Coach Zimmer does as well," Priefer said. "For us to be comfortable if he’s going to be the guy, we need more reps and more reps catching the ball in different situations. It was a beautiful night the other night, it was pretty ideal conditions for a guy to catch punts."