Vikings’ Zimmer and Thielen talk opener Sunday vs. Bengals

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and WR Adam Thielen met with reporters on Monday at the team’s practice facility.

The Vikings open their season Sunday at Cincinnati. The Bengals will be without starting CB Trae Waynes, coach Zac Taylor said on Monday. Waynes, the Vikings’ 2015 1st round pick, has been dealing with a hamstring issue. Waynes signed as a free agent with the Bengals prior to the 2020 season, but has yet to play a game for them.

***Click the video box above to watch Zimmer and Thielen answer questions from reporters on Monday***

As for the Vikings’ biggest injury concern, Zimmer said he’ll know more on Wednesday whether LB Anthony Barr (knee) will be able to play.

Rookie LT Christian Darrisaw won’t play after undergoing a surgical procedure on his groin in August. The good news is Darrisaw will be able to return to practice on Wednesday. Zimmer said they will bring him along slowly.

"We will just have to see how he progresses," said Zimmer

"I think the biggest thing is watching him practice and then we start seeing him and start seeing him develop," Zimmer said. "Some of those things are going to show up early, especially when he hasn’t practiced in a while. Is it the right footwork? Is he making mistakes? How’s he pass-protecting? It’s just going to be an evaluation each week and then when we decide to put him in there, then we do. Or if we do."

Zimmer also touched on the overall questions about his offensive line, the excitement he has in seeing DE Danielle Hunter back, and how Sunday will be a bit of homecoming. Zimmer is the Bengals’ former defensive coordinator and he owns a ranch close to Cincinnati.

Thielen addressed how he prepares for a game, the season-ending loss of TE Irv Smith Jr. (knee), who can step up as the 3rd receiving option, and more.

The Vikings are 3-point favorites on Sunday.