MANKATO, Minn. -- When the Minnesota Vikings released their practice schedule for training camp, their final session -- slated to run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday -- felt like it could be earmarked for an early finish.
Sure enough, shortly after 9:00 on Tuesday morning, once players had dispersed from a pile in the middle of the field following a fight between Brandon Fusco and a defender, Mike Zimmer called his team together. Training camp was over, and the Vikings were on to Cincinnati.
Their final practice of 2016 at Minnesota State University figured to be a precursor to two joint practices with the Bengals on Wednesday and Thursday, before the Vikings open the preseason in Cincinnati on Friday night. Left tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Terence Newman, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, wide receiver Jarius Wright, defensive end Scott Crichton and linebackers Eric Kendricks and Edmond Robinson all sat out the session, either to rest injuries or to get a break before what figures to be a lively padded practice on Wednesday afternoon.
And at the end of 10 days in Mankato, Zimmer was pleased with what his team had accomplished.
"There are always a lot more things you want to do, but I think we hit all the situations that we need to hit," Zimmer said. "It’s nice having a veteran team. Even though we’re still young, I think it’s nice having a veteran team that can kind of have some recall as we continue to go forward.
I think at this time of camp, it’s about time to start going against [someone else]. You saw we had a little fight out there [Tuesday]. Guys start getting on each other’s nerve a little bit, so it’s nice to go against someone else, and the competition will be good."
Zimmer wasn't happy with the way the Vikings practiced on Monday, and at one point, stopped to make players do a round of 10 pushups. On Tuesday, though, he let them off early with a flight to Cincinnati still on the day's schedule.
"It was good to have a short practice after last night, and we came out and performed," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. "He takes care of us when we take care of him."