The Minnesota Vikings are hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars for joint practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Head coach Mike Zimmer made it clear that he wants his team to ramp up its competitiveness over the next two days without things turning ugly.
Before Wednesday’s practice, 12 players on each team will meet to talk about keeping cool heads over the next two days.
“We just really don’t want to end up being on TV like some of these other things that have been going on, we just want to get out here and get some work done and get each of us better,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings’ head coach said the Jaguars initially approached the Vikings about traveling to Minnesota for joint practices before the two teams play on Saturday at US Bank Stadium.
“At some point you’ve been going against yourselves for 12 days now or something and it starts to get a little bit stale and you get the same routine,” Zimmer said. “I think the intensity level will be up a little bit…we’re not trying to prove who’s the toughest guys, I’m sure they’re not either but we’re going to see different techniques than we’ve seen, different plays, how we react, plays that we haven’t prepared for, blitzes we may not have prepared for and see how our rules hold up to all of those things.
Last year the Vikings did not practice with another team, but they did in 2016 when Zimmer’s team traveled to Cincinnati for workouts.
One of the potential benefits, Zimmer said, is that Jacksonville’s defense draws comparisons to some teams that the Vikings have on this season’s schedule.
”Their defense is similar to Seattle, San Francisco and a lot of teams we’re going to play this year,” Zimmer said. “Fast, their defensive line led the league in sacks last year, they were second in the league defensively, they’re pretty darn good.”
Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs said it’s disappointing that star cornerback Jalen Ramsey will not be in attendance. He was suspended by the team for criticizing local media publicly.
“He’s a great corner and we were looking forward to going against him,” Diggs said. “All those guys in the back end, they have a great secondary.”
Zimmer joked the Vikings are not above “stealing” from what they learn from the Jaguars. Diggs added that the main benefit is getting feedback from fresh eyes.
“Learning things as far as like…asking questions, what they see going against your defense they see the same thing, going against someone else you can get a good grind out of it,” Diggs said.