Suspended Vikings Kentrell Brothers, Cayleb Jones offered plenty of remorse
EAGAN, Minn.—In April, two Vikings players were suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. They then had to explain their actions to Mike Zimmer.
"It's intimidating to go up to the head coach and talk to him like that,'' linebacker Kentrell Brothers said Wednesday on the second day of a three-day minicamp.
Brothers learned of his suspension April 20, and wide receiver Cayleb Jones got the news 10 days later.
"I talked to them both about what the situation was and what happened and those kind of things, which I'll keep to myself,'' Zimmer said. "Like I usually do, I tell them my true feelings on everything.''
Both players said they apologized to Zimmer as well as to others in the Vikings organization.
"I told (Zimmer) that he didn't need to worry about anything,'' Brothers said. "I'm not addicted to drugs or anything. I just made a mistake and apologize and whatever you want me to do, I'm willing to do. And he told me that he appreciated me for coming up there.''
Brothers and Jones both said they took a supplement they they were unaware contained a banned substance.
"I made a silly mistake,'' Brothers said. "I took something I didn't know what was in it and I got popped. It's nobody's fault but my own.''
Jones said he made a "careless mistake.'' As soon as he found out about the situation, he said he "contacted everybody of authority" on the Vikings.
"I'm just trying to do what I'm supposed to do and taking responsibility and moving on,'' Jones said. "It was an accident. It won't happen again.''
Brothers and Jones are in different situations. Brothers, entering his third season, is likely to remain on the 53-man roster after he is on the suspended list for the first four games. Jones, who was on the practice squad last season, is far from a lock to be on the active roster.
"It's always tough to make the team, so I'm not going to let something that I can't control now affect the way I play in the future,'' Jones said.
Vikings defensive backs Andrew Sendejo and Terence Newman switched jerseys during Wednesday's practice. Sendejo wore Newman's No. 23 and Newman donned Sendejo's No. 34.
Sendejo, a starting safety, has missed spring drills this month with an undisclosed injury. This week, Newman, who mostly plays cornerback, has moved to safety.
"He did his rendition of Sendejo,'' said Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. "Terence has done a good job. His versatility in the secondary, everybody knows about it.''
The battle to be the Vikings' kicker could go down to the wire.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said the competition between Kai Forbath and rookie Daniel Carlson is "very close.'' In team drills this spring, Priefer said Carlson has made 16 of 19 field goals and that Forbath has made "somewhere around" 13 or 14 of 18 attempts.
Priefer also expects spirited competition between Marcus Sherels and rookie Mike Hughes to return both kickoffs and punts. Sherels handled both jobs last season.
Goodbye to printed Vikings' tickets.
The Vikings have adopted "mobile entry'' for all home games beginning this season. All tickets will need to be on a mobile device or iPad for entry.
The Vikings first began using mobile tickets in 2014 and went away from hard tickets in 2016. Tickets printed from a computer were allowed the past two seasons but no longer will be.
The new policy still will allow for customers to purchase tickets on the secondary market, and it won't put any restrictions on the price sellers can charge on the secondary market.
—Zimmer revealed in a radio interview why rookie defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes has missed spring drills this month. "He broke his hand, but up until that point I'm thinking he's got a chance to be real guy,'' Zimmer said on KFAN. Holmes is expected to be ready for training camp.
—Zimmer on Tuesday said Minnesota has made a "seamless'' transition with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who took over after Pat Shurmur was hired to coach the New York Giants. "The fact that he said that means a lot to me,'' DeFilippo said. "Coach and I have a tremendous relationship.''
—Tackle Rashod Hill said he lost 12 pounds after last season because he was feeling "fatigue" in the fourth quarter of games. Hill said he dropped from 325 to 313 pounds by "eating more healthy" and not making late-night trips to the supermarket for snacks.
—Quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Adam Thielen both had frustrating practices Wednesday. Cousins threw two interceptions and Thielen's day included a dropped touchdown pass. "He was just sitting at his locker pouting with me,'' Cousins said. "We had a little pity party.''
—Cousins said it's been "tough not having" Pat Elflein in spring drills because he wants to "build the rapport'' with the starting center. Elflein did not participate in practices while coming off ankle surgery in January but is expected to be ready for training camp.
—Cousins and his family recently moved into a new home in Inver Grove Heights. He joked about how his home is in the district of Rosemount High School, and the team's football helmets look "just like the University of Michigan's.'' Cousins went to rival Michigan State.