Updated: 06/05/2014 7:36 PM KSTP.com By: Grant Bosiacki
The Minnesota Vikings finished up their sixth practice of Organized Team Activities (OTA's) Thursday morning, and with only four remaining, head coach Mike Zimmer said the team is on the right track, but still has a long way to go.
"I think the most important thing so far is the way these guys work, the way they prepare," Zimmer said. "But like any coach, the turnovers bother me. We still have to work some things out."
Zimmer, who turned 58 Thursday, said the best birthday present he could've gotten was a good practice from his players. So did his player's give him what he was looking for?
"Hmm, nah. We've got a ways to go still (smiling)," Zimmer said.
Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings and Joe Banyard weren't at practice today. They were excused absences. Matt Kalil, Jamarca Sanford, Everson Griffen and Josh Robinson were held out with injuries.
1) Jarius Wright and Adam Thielen both looked good during individual drills and 11 on 11. Wright is looking to take a leap forward in year three and should benefit from the extra vertical passes that new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has historically favored. Thielen, a Mankato alum, is battling for the fifth receiver spot on the roster after spending last season on the practice squad.
2) Teddy Bridgewater continues looking more and more comfortable. Granted, it's extremely early on and OTA's aren't anytime to tell how good a player is, but Bridgewater looked smooth all morning long. There wasn't a noticeable drop-off in timing or productivity, whether it was Cassel under center or Bridgewater. The Vikings aren't going to feel rushed into putting Bridgewater on the field early on, but the steps (even if they're baby) he has taken from Rookie Mini Camp to today are encouraging.
3) With Peterson and Banyard gone today, backup Matt Asiata got plenty of looks in front of the media. You might have to blink a few times before recognizing the third-year running back, who appeared noticeably thinner and more agile in the open space. Asiata figures to regain the third-string job that he's held the last two seasons.
The players will get the next few days off and return to the field Monday, June 9.
*Click on the Video Above for Highlights of Today's Practice and interviews from Zimmer, Bridgewater and Captain Munnerlyn*