The Vikings did not begin training camp with many battles for starting jobs, but one that did exist appears to be over. Ed Ingram, a second-round pick from LSU, took all of the first-team reps at right guard during Wednesday’s joint practice with San Francisco at TCO Performance Center, and it looks as if Ingram will get the start on Sept. 11 against the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Jesse Davis, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Vikings in March after playing five seasons with Miami, opened camp working with the first team, but Ingram immediately impressed the coaching staff and had a strong performance in the preseason opener Sunday in Las Vegas.
Davis played guard and tackle for the Dolphins, so he likely will make the roster based on his versatility. He found himself at left guard with the second team on Wednesday. Chris Reed, another veteran signed as a free agent this offseason, is listed as the backup left guard but he has missed most of the past week because of injury.
Reed also was getting work, along with Austin Schlottmann, as the second-team center. That job appears to be Schlottmann’s. Although he hasn’t had a great camp, there is no indication the Vikings are considering abandoning the plan to have Garrett Bradbury start at center.
If Ingram does begin the season at right guard, that will mean the Vikings’ starting line will be all first- or second-round picks by the team. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw was taken in the first round in 2021; left guard Ezra Cleveland was selected in the second round in 2020; Bradbury was a first-rounder in 2019; and right tackle Brian O’Neill was a second-rounder in 2018.
- Watching the variety of ways new coach Kevin O’Connell is using Justin Jefferson in the Vikings’ offense, there is no question the standout wide receiver is going to be a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks. Also, it no longer will be possible to make an adjustment and eliminate Jefferson from the offense.
- Veteran wide receiver Albert Wilson continues to impress in Vikings’ camp. He caught two touchdown passes Sunday against Las Vegas and made another nice touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone against the 49ers on Wednesday. Wilson, 30, has 218 receptions for 2,499 and 12 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons, the first four with Kansas City and the past three with Miami.
- The Vikings’ preseason game on Saturday against the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium will give some roster hopefuls a chance to make their case to stick around, but the two joint practices this week are more important for the veterans. Cousins, Jefferson, Adam Thielen and many others — who probably won’t play on Saturday — are getting valuable work in a far-more controlled setting in the joint sessions.
- Many reporters standing close to Cousins during drills Wednesday, heard the veteran yell an expletive that begins with the letter F before asking if the 49ers “liked that” following a completion. Cousins can get emotional but rarely mixes in expletives, at least that anyone can hear. Maybe this is the new, feistier Cousins that we are seeing.
- Not only did former NFL coach Mike Shanahan attend Wednesday’s practice in order to see his son, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, but former Vikings coach Brad Childress also was in attendance. Childress, fired by the Vikings during the 2010 season, still has a residence in the Twin Cities.
- If the Vikings’ preseason opener, and the first joint practice with San Francisco, are any indication, you can expect plenty of penalty flags from NFL officials early in the season. Illegal contact appears to be the popular one that the league felt was ignored too often last season and will now draw a flag if a defender breathes on an offensive player.
- The Twins completed a three-game sweep of Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field, but the fact recently acquired righthander Tyler Mahle left the game with “fatigue” in his pitching shoulder was of significant concern. Mahle was making only his third start for the Twins since arriving from the Reds in a trade-deadline deal for three prospects. If this sounds familiar, that’s because the Twins’ brass previously acquired two pitchers who showed up injured. Reliever Sam Dyson, obtained from San Francisco at the trade deadline in 2019, made 12 appearances for the Twins before needing shoulder surgery. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since then. Minnesota also acquired righthanded starter Chris Paddack at the beginning of this season from San Diego, but he made only five starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery that will keep him out into next season.
- Goalie Jesper Wallstedt, a first-round pick of the Wild in 2021, made 12 saves Wednesday as Sweden beat Latvia 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the World Junior hockey championships in Edmonton. Wallstedt was in goal Sunday for Sweden’s 3-2 loss to Team USA and took the defeat pretty hard. “I betrayed the whole team; all the players, all the staff and I disappointed the whole country with this loss,” he said. Wallstedt is expected to play this season with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
- The Timberwolves will be featured 16 times on nationally televised games in 2022-23. That includes six on ESPN, six on NBA TV and four on TNT. A year ago, the Wolves were only scheduled for four nationally televised games when the schedule was released.
- The Wolves will open the regular season on Oct. 19 against Oklahoma City at Target Center. That is two months from Friday. Hopefully, the team will remember to hire a television play-by-play voice before that date.