By Chris Veninga, WCCO Intern
EAGAN, Minn. -- Though the weather may have been the exact opposite of cold at Vikings held a walkthrough practice at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.on Wednesday, the mood certainly was chill as the
"Make sure that you go home every night and make improvements. That's really where my focus is, where our focus is," said quarterback Kirk Cousins.
One focus of the team this year is Cousins finally being able to have the same play-caller two years in a row in head coach Kevin O'Connell.
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"I can be thinking about the play clock, thinking about the defensive personnel, thinking about our offensive personnel, the situation while he's calling the play. Kind of multi-process while I'm hearing the play. It used to be 'shut out the whole world, OK, let me hear this play' to make sure I can call it in the huddle," Cousins said.
The team ran through some of their plays on offense, defense, and special teams. Not a single ball was thrown and few were carried, and not one helmet was worn. After two days of intense padded practice, the team was taking a breather.
Outside of the drills, wide receiver Justin Jefferson was on the sidelines and catching one-handed passes thrown to him by an assistant, not quite emulating his miraculous catch against the Buffalo Bills last year but nevertheless making it look easy.
Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips mentioned that having a receiver like Jefferson allowed for players like tight end T.J. Hockenson, another elite pass catcher, to sneak by.
"Justin gets a lot of attention. Other guys gotta step up and win, and T.J.'s that guy," Phillips said.
One player that fans are wondering about "stepping up" is newly-drafted, fifth-round quarterback Jaren Hall out of BYU. As this is Cousins' last year on his contract, some may wonder if Hall could be the future starter.
"Jaren's done a great job, he's a great mind in the room, he's a great athlete on the field," Cousins said. "We're throwing a lot at him, and there's a lot to learn and he's handling it really well."
The Vikings play their first preseason game in Seattle on Aug. 10, and will follow that game with a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans.
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