Munnerlyn able to practice with Vikings
Captain Munnerlyn was going to get a chance to munch on some Girl Scout cookies after Vikings practice on Thursday. Yum.
MANKATO — As a Minnesota Vikings practice was ending on Thursday, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was handed two boxes of Girl Scout cookies and headed off the field.
"I made weight today so I think I can afford to have a couple of cookies," Munnerlyn said with a grin.
Munnerlyn was in a good mood because onWednesday he had been removed from the physically unable to perform list. He has taken part in team walk-throughs the past two days and was on the field for the practice session Thursday afternoon.
"I hate missing games and practices," Munnerlyn said. "I'm a competitive guy."
It was that competitive spirit and the need for a proven cornerback that had the Vikings seek out and sign the veteran free agent in the offseason to help shore up its porous pass defense.
Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson did not open camp on the PUP list, but he had also been withheld from earlier practices. But he was on the field competing on Thursday.
"We'll be careful with them both a little bit, but they're pretty ready to go, I think," head coach Mike Zimmer said. "It's nice to have them back out there."
Safety Robert Blanton had been having a strong camp and was on the first team at a safety spot opposite Harrison Smith. Blanton injured a hamstring a few days ago and could miss up to a month. In his absence, Mistral Raymond has been working with the first team defense at safety.
"Right now we've got Mistral in there, but we're moving guys around," Zimmer said.
Veteran linebacker Chad Greenway was one of the defensive players moving around on Thursday. Greenway, normally a weak side linebacker, was shifting to the inside on some plays.
"I know Chad has value and is a good football player," Zimmer said. "He's a smart guy and has a lot of different values in what he can do.
"If he moves to inside, maybe we can take a look at another guy outside," Zimmer added. "Really we're just trying to get the 11 best players on the field."
Zimmer, the first-year head coach,admits that a lot of the players are still to be evaluated and he is trying to put them in the best position for them to succeed and help the team.
"Really right nowit's aboutfiguring out what guys can do," Zimmer said. "And the more you can do, the more value you have to this football team."
The Vikings are gearing up for an overall team practice at Blakeslee Stadium from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday. They also held oneon Monday as they gear up for the preseason opener Aug. 8 against Oakland.
"It will be a lot more situational," Zimmer said. "You've got red zone (situations to) move the ball. ... We're just trying to get better each and every day. We're trying to make this football team tough, physical, smart. We want to make sure we don't make mistakes, don't beat ourselves."
Officials in camp
Some NFL officials were in Mankato on Thursday to break down illegal contact rules by defensive players.
"I think there's going to be a bigger emphasis on some of the illegal contact this year and some of the holding on defensive backs," Zimmer said. "So it's good to get them (officials) in. The good thing about us is all coaches adjust to the rules and try to play within the rules."