Kyle Sloter is fired up about the next two Saturday nights.
This Saturday, the quarterback, who never has played in a preseason or regular-season game for the Vikings, will take part in the closest thing to a game, a training camp night practice at TCO Stadium.
Next Saturday, Sloter will return to Denver for a preseason game. Sloter was with the Broncos throughout the preseason last year before he was cut and signed by the Vikings.
“Hopefully, I’ll go back and have a good homecoming party,’’ Sloter said Friday about the preseason opener. “Everybody wants to do well against their former team. I don’t think it adds any more, I’m a pretty motivated person. But it’s definitely something. I’m looking forward to going against friends and showing that I could have been around there (had the Broncos not cut him).’’
First up, though, is the night practice. Sloter, Minnesota’s third-string quarterback behind Kirk Cousins and Trevor Siemian, said he’s “excited” about playing “game-like football.”
“I feel like I’m better at playing football than I am in a scripted practice, so I’m really looking forward to getting in the flow of a game,” Sloter said. “I feel like I’m a good decision maker when it comes to being in an actual game. So any time you get to go out there and play real football, or whatever it’s simulated to being like, as opposed to a scripted practice, it’s fun.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the session will feature a “little game situation” and some “red-zone and short-yardage” work.
Then it will be on to Denver, where Sloter was with the Broncos last year and turned some heads. He played in all four preseason games, completing 31 of 43 passes (72.1 percent) for 413 yards with three touchdowns. After being waived, he was on Minnesota’s practice squad for the first week and on the 53-man roster for the rest of the season, but never got into a game.
“It was a great organization for me,’’ Sloter said of the Broncos. “I don’t think I would be where I’m at without them, but I’m happy to be here in Minnesota.”
PRESEASON PLAY FOR COOK
The Denver game is expected to mark the return to game action for running back Dalvin Cook after he suffered a torn left ACL on Oct. 1, 2017 against Detroit
“I’ll probably see him in the preseason,’’ Zimmer said. “It will depend on the situation and where we’re at and things like that. We’ve banged him pretty good the last few days so he’ll get some reps.’’
Asked specifically about the Denver game, Zimmer said, “Yes, he’s ready now.’’
Cook expects it to be emotional when he returns to game action.
“I am going to be hyped,’’ he said. “I know that. I’ll tell you that. You are always going to be nervous before a game. If anybody tells you different, it’s a lie.’’
–Linebacker Kentrell Brothers returned to practice Friday after sitting out Thursday with an undisclosed condition. Not practicing Friday were guard Mike Remmers (ankle) and wide receivers Tavarres King (leg) and Chad Beebe (undisclosed).
–With Remmers out, center Pat Elflein on the physically unable to perform list and tackle Rashod Hill working his way back from an illness, the Vikings’ first-team offensive line Friday was left tackle Riley Reiff, left guard Danny Isidora, center Nick Easton, right guard Tom Compton and Hill and rookie Brian O’Neill splitting duty at right tackle.
–Former Vikings star defensive linemen Keith Millard and Henry Thomas attended practice Friday and spoke to members of the Vikings line. “We got to hang out together, like the old days,” Thomas said.
–Defensive end Everson Griffen has a label for players at skill positions. “I call them the pretty boys, the ones that like scoring touchdowns and being on camera,’’ he said.