Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings hall of fame coach Bud Grant is taking a more measured approach on national anthem protests. Grant, a World War II veteran, had his teams line up in a precise formation for the anthem, and even practiced it during training camp. Last year, he called then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick "trash" and said he should go to "Mongolia, Bolivia or Bangladesh" because of his decision to sit and then kneel during the anthem.
MINNEAPOLIS — It was typical day during organized-team activities in June 2016, and Vikings guard Mike Harris was battling to keep his starting job. Following a practice, he returned to his home in Eden Prairie, Minn., to study his iPad. Suddenly, everything changed for Harris. "I felt like I was having a stroke," Harris said Tuesday, Sept. 26. "I got home and I just remember being on my iPad and my vision went blurry, went double. I couldn't see."
MINNEAPOLIS — During Mike Zimmer's four seasons as Vikings coach, the defense mostly has carried the offense. That might be changing. After three games, the Vikings rank second in the NFL in total offense with an average of 400.3 yards. That comes after three seasons under Zimmer in which they were among the league's worst offenses, ranking 27th in 2014, 29th in 2015 and 28th in 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS—While Adam Thielen was downplaying the possibility of having a 1,000-yard receiving season, Vikings teammate Laquon Treadwell walked up and offered his take. "He's going to do it,'' Treadwell said. It's early, but Thielen actually is on pace for a 1,600-yard season. He's third in the NFL after two games with 201 yards receiving on 14 catches.
MINNEAPOLIS—Vikings receiver Jarius Wright has played 27 snaps in the first two games. That's not a lot, but it's 27 more than he got in last season's first two games. "I'm getting to play, so that keeps me happy," Wright said Friday, Sept. 22. "Whatever (number of snaps), I just want to play. It's better than sitting on the bench or not dressing out."
MINNEAPOLIS—Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his second consecutive game Sunday, Sept. 24, after traveling to Florida on Friday, Sept. 22, to meet with an orthopedic specialist about his surgically repaired left knee. Case Keenum will start Sunday's game against Tampa Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium. While the Vikings practiced Friday, Bradford traveled to Gulf Breeze, Fla., for a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic specialist who operated on his left knee when Bradford suffered torn ligament injuries in 2013 and 2014 while with the St. Louis Rams.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—The brother of Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is the Fox analyst for Sunday's game, but that doesn't mean he has any inside information on Sam Bradford. "He's not going to tell me anything," former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman said of the quarterback's availability on Thursday. At least Vikings coach Mike Zimmer revealed a little. Zimmer said Bradford, who sat out last week's 26-9 loss at Pittsburgh with a left knee injury, was doing "better" and has a chance to play on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
ST. PAUL — Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford is hopeful his absence will be just one game. Bradford sat out last week's 26-9 loss at Pittsburgh with an injury to his surgically repaired left knee. He returned to practice Wednesday, Sept. 20, with an eye on playing Sunday's game against Tampa Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium. "I would like to think that (the chances are) good, but I think a lot of it just depends on how my knee responds when we go out there and practice this week, and hopefully it will continue to get better," Bradford said before Wednesday's practice.
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings punter Ryan Quigley said he hasn't been recognized yet while out and about in the Twin Cities. "I'm a pretty generic-looking guy," he admits. Quigley doesn't mind. He points out that nobody notices the punter until he messes up. Quigley hasn't done much of that in his first season with the Vikings. Just two years after ranking next to last in the NFL in net punting average with the New York Jets, he is averaging 44.0 yards net in his first two games this season, which ranks him fifth in the NFL.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — As one of the Vikings' captains, Brian Robison headed out for the coin toss before last Monday's opener against New Orleans. Then it got a bit strange. When Minnesota came out on defense for the first play of the game, the defensive end remained on the sidelines. He eventually did enter the game, the first time he had been a reserve since the 2010 regular-season finale at Detroit.