Before the season, Vikings special-teams coordinator Matt Daniels said he considered taking veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson off the field-goal block team. Good thing he didn’t.
Peterson, 32, blocked a field-goal attempt in the third quarter of Monday’s 24-7 loss at Philadelphia. Most impressive was how Peterson did it, flying in from the edge and slapping the ball it with his trailing hand.
“I was actually going to pull Patrick Peterson off of field-goal block,” Daniels admitted Thursday. “And he came to me and said ‘(Daniels), there’s no way.’ He’s like, ‘I’ve blocked three in my career, I still got it. I got good first-step burst still to come off the edge.’ ”
Peterson, a cornerback, showed that when he took five steps and perfectly timed the block. He had been called for offsides earlier in the game on an extra-point attempt.
“I always love being in involved in special teams,” Peterson said. “It shows that your team has attitude, your team has grit. … So, yeah, the old guy’s still got it.”
Fellow cornerback Kris Boyd returned the blocked kick 27 yards to the Eagles’ 30-yeard line, but Kirk Cousins followed with an interception and Minnesota failed to score. Daniels liked how Boyd scooped the ball up but not that he was tackled by punter and holder Arryn Siposs.
“He’s just got to run that thing to the sideline rather than keep it straight,” Daniels said.
SMITH AGAIN OUT
Safety Harrison Smith didn’t practice Thursday for the second straight day due to a concussion, and his status is uncertain for Sunday’s home game against Detroit.
Smith was hurt in the fourth quarter Monday. His primary replacement was Josh Metellus, who was in for 10 plays at safety while rookie Lewis Cine got in for one. Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was noncommittal about who would start if Smith can’t play.
“Both will be in the mix,” Donatell said. “Those are things that we don’t know. .. We’re prepared, and you could see both of them.”
If Smith is out, it could weaken a defense that allowed 347 yards and 24 points in the first half at Philadelphia but recovered to give up no points and 139 yards in the second half. Donatell said he’s “not concerned” about the defense since the Vikings “came back from a tough half” after their “execution was off.”
Also not practicing was rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., who missed Monday’s game due to a quadriceps injury.
Former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was known for yelling while first-year coach Kevin O’Connell isn’t. After the loss to the Eagles, Minnesota players have talked about the attitude remaining upbeat.
“(It’s) being able to have a positive culture,” receiver Adam Thielen said. “When you walk in this building, there’s nobody hanging their heads, there’s nobody (cursing). It was everybody ready to talk about the game, to figure out what we could do better.”
O’Connell has pointed the finger at himself for the defeat. Receiver Justin Jefferson said “of course everything is not on him,” Jefferson then added, “He’s trying to be accountable, so we’ve got to be accountable as players.”
Daniels has been impressed with rookie punter Ryan Wright, who averaged 47.8 yards gross and 45.2 net per boot in the first two games.
“He has a top-10 leg in this league,” Daniels said. “It’s funny because pre-game you look at him in his eyes and he’s kind of bright-eyed, and it’s kind of like, ‘You OK, Mr. Wright?’ The moment almost looks too big for him. But game rolls around and he’s just locked in.”
Daniels said he has nicknames for players, and just happens to call the rookie “Mr. Wright.”
On the 53-yard TD pass Jalen Hurts threw Monday to Quez Watkins, Donatell said cornerback Cameron Dantzler “misread what was in front of him, and the correction has been made.” … Daniels said he must do “a better job of setting up” punt returns to help return man Jalen Reagor. … After blaming himself for not getting open enough Monday, Thielen said it was about “going back to work and trying to improve every day in practice.”