Bengals, Vikings Set For Joint Practice

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January 31, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (28) is tackled by Team Irvin lineman Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals (97) during the first quarter of the 2016 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
January 31, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (28) is tackled by Team Irvin lineman Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals (97) during the first quarter of the 2016 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Bengals and Vikings start the season off, on Friday night. But, before the main event, they have joint practices this week.

The countdown has begun. Weekend football starts Friday, August 12, for the Cincinnati Bengals. Before the game, there’ll be a joint practice with their opponent. Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings will be the object of scorn. Wednesday’s practice will be full-padded, while Thursday will be shoulder pads only. Expect the atmosphere to be tense and unpredictable. 

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Joint practices are not a new fad. The Bengals held joint practices with the New York Giants. In 2014, the plans were to have a similar session with the Jets. Things fell through and it didn’t happen. The Bengals have also been involved in joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons.

The scrimmages can be more productive than the public thinks. They’re not just a scheme to draw more interest in the Bengals. The joint practices can also help coaches evaluate players in a game-like situation. Andrew Whitworth likes the setup because it lessens the amount of time spent in training camp. He feels the practices can keep the NFL from taking the season to 18 games.

“I don’t think there’s any need for an 18-game season,” Whitworth told USA TODAY Sports. “With all of the things we’re seeing health wise, I don’t think an 18-game season is beneficial for anybody.”

The joint practices will be at Paul Brown Stadium. The sessions will be open to the public. The action will get underway at 3 p.m., on Wednesday, and 11 a.m. on Thursday.

“I do agree with the fans that preseason is lackluster,” Whitworth continued. “There are ways you can fix that. If it’s less games, fine. But I definitely don’t think there are a lot of guys who’d want to play an 18-game season.”

The Bengals’ veteran tackle may be right about the injuries. During the first week of Camp Marvin, the players were going down in bunches.

Head coach Marvin Lewis stresses that joint practices are good. When two teams are on the field, the competitive nature takes over. The atmosphere changes and players want to take things to the next level. That’s when cool heads have to prevail. It’s still preseason. The real battles won’t begin until September. 

As for the insanity that comes with a joint practice, there will be a mutual admiration between Lewis and Zimmer. Any altercations will be dealt with swiftly.

“If it wasn’t with Marvin, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Zimmer explained, per Vikings.com. “We have a great relationship and have had one for a long, long time even before I started working for him. I respect the things that he does and I know that his team will represent them and our team will represent us in the correct way.”

Terence Newman won’t be making the trip to Cincinnati. But, Andre Smith and Emmanuel Lamur will be on hand to provide memories. 

Next: Ready, Set, Dominate

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