EAGAN, Minn. – The intensity rose, and the competition was real.
That produced strong moments defensively for the Jaguars in a dual practice against the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, while the results for the offense?
That unit was more up and down, which wasn’t surprising considering the Vikings were the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense last season. That the Jaguars’ defense was strong Wednesday hardly was surprising, either. The Jaguars’ defense was ranked No. 2 in the NFL in yards allowed last season.
“It went well,” Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole said of the competition provided by the Vikings’ defense and adding, “It doesn’t get better than that. Their defense is good, and their corners are some of the top players in the NFL. It’s always good going against those.”
So, it went on Wednesday during the first of two dual practices between teams that won their respective divisions last season and are expected by many to be Super Bowl contenders this season. The Jaguars and Vikings worked for about two and a half hours at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, working in full pads in 85-degree temperatures.
The Jaguars won the AFC South last season and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The Vikings won the NFC North and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
“It was very intense,” Jaguars rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs said.
Added Cole, “You get a game feeling. It was good going against a different defense. It’s always good going against a different team. You can’t be physical going against teammates, so it’s good going against a different team.”
Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed practice while serving week-long suspensions. They are expected to return to the team Monday.
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media before Wednesday’s practice. Coverage of his media availability can be found on jaguars.com.
The Vikings and Jaguars will practice at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center again Thursday. They will play a Preseason Week 2 game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Saturday at 1 p.m.
Here’s a look at Day 15 practice:
*Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and the offense struggled at times against the Vikings’ top-ranked defense, with Vikings cornerback Terence Newman recording an interception in 7-on-7 work and Vikings All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes dropping a potential interception on a pass from Bortles to Cole in 11-on-11 work. Bortles also had nice throws to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, wide receiver Jaydon Mickens and Cole in team work. …
*The Jaguars’ run game looked good in several early drills, with running backs Corey Grant and Leonard Fournette each turning in good gains through the middle (Grant) and around the edge (Fournette). …
*Seferian-Jenkins had an athletic, impressive catch early in practice and appeared to get banged up before leaving practice for a while late. …
PLAY OF THE DAY
There were few clear plays of the day for the Jaguars’ offense Monday, but several players stood out defensively. Defensive end Calais Campbell and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus appeared to have strong days against Minnesota’s defensive line, and middle linebacker Myles Jack stood out throughout practice. The Jaguars’ defensive line was particularly strong early. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a strong early red-zone drill, and the Jaguars’ defense gave the Vikings’ offense trouble after that.
Defensive end Dawuane Smoot (ankle), nose tackle Eli Ankou (knee) and guard Andrew Norwell (calf) did not practice Wednesday. Smoot and Ankou did not make the trip and Norwell worked on the side of practice.
Right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), defensive tackle Taven Bryan (abdominal) and tackle Will Richardson Jr. (shoulder) worked on the side.
*The first-team offensive line on Wednesday appeared mostly to be left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Chris Reed, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle William Poehls for a fourth consecutive day. Parnell and Norwell had been working with the starters throughout camp before missing Thursday’s preseason opener with injuries. Josh Wells started at right tackle against New Orleans and Tyler Shatley started at left guard.
*Cornerback Tyler Patmon continued to work at cornerback with the first-team defense with Ramsey out of practice.