EAGAN, Minn. -- It gets pretty hot at the Vikings’ TCO Performance Center in Eagan during training camp with temperatures sometimes pushing 90 degrees.
That has created a minor problem as quarterback Kirk Cousins works to build a rapport with rookie center Garrett Bradbury.
Basically what it boils down to is this: Bradbury sweats a lot — like, more than the average human — and that has sometimes made the exchanges a little more problematic than normal.
“It’s the whole thing,” Cousins said with a laugh. “I look at his shins and it’s just like pouring. It looks like my window after a rainstorm. Then I look at my shins. It’s just genetic, I guess. I don’t know.”
As much as Cousins was being tongue in cheek about the entire thing, it is actually something he’s hoping to learn more about in Friday night’s preseason opener against the Saints in New Orleans.
“He promises that it’s not a problem in games,” Cousins said. “It remains to be seen because his shorts today were soaked. He says it’s not a problem on game days, so the moment of truth will come then. That’s a big thing I’m going to take away. Just how tough it was to grip the ball after he snaps it to me.”
Made aware of those Cousins’ comments after practice, Bradbury was a little caught off guard, and even more so when actually put on the spot.
“We are out here working,” Bradbury said with a nervous smile. “I don’t really know how to answer that.”
Has it ever been a problem in the past?
“No,” Bradbury said. “It’ll be fine.”
His overactive sweat glands notwithstanding, Bradbury is most looking forward to the game because it’ll give him a chance to be in an actual game, something he hasn’t experienced yet in his fledgling NFL career.
“Just having to identify a new defense is a new challenge for him,” Cousins said. “I just keep going back to the fact that he’s a professional and he’s the kind of person that seems to roll with it and handle it very well. I have high expectations for him as a result.”
Alexander Mattison has looked the part of a featured running back throughout training camp and garnered praise following Tuesday’s practice.
“He’s got really good vision and good feet,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s a little bit more of a downhill guy as far as following with his pads forward and things like that. He brings a little bit more thump, though Dalvin (Cook) is physical as well. I think it’ll be a pretty good change of pace.”
As for whether or not he will play in Friday’s preseason game, well, that is still up in the air.
Despite the fact that Mattison has been a full participant this week, including Wednesday’s practice, Zimmer seemed to hint that he might not suit up.
“Hopefully he can play,” Zimmer said. “If he can, then we will give him a good dose.”
Asked directly if Mattison was hurt, Zimmer deflected, responding, “We’ll have to see if he can play or not.”
Shamar Stephen was activated from the non-football injury list last week but has yet to participate in team drills. He is expected to start as the Vikings’ three-technique defensive lineman this season.
“I think he is going to solidify some of the run in the middle there and take some reps off Jalyn (Holmes) and Hercules (Mata’afa) and those guys,” Zimmer said. “He’s been out here. He hasn’t really practiced much. I assume he’s going to be the same guy he always was.”