Bengals offense sputters in practice with Vikings

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton participates in a joint NFL football practice with the Minnesota Vikings, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton participates in a joint NFL football practice with the Minnesota Vikings, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said he’s never satisfied with a practice in which he throws an incompletion.

In that case, Wednesday’s joint practice session with the Minnesota Vikings left a lot of dissatisfaction.

The Bengals struggled facing an opponent for the first time in an 11-on-11 practice session against the Vikings’ defense. Dalton had an especially rough time the first half of practice that saw him touched for a sack twice (and almost a third time before he threw the ball away) and several passes falling incomplete.

“Different things,” Dalton said when asked if it was a matter of protection, routes or coverage. “They did a good job covering. We will look at it on film and see what we need to do to get better.”

Both teams are hoping to make the most of the opportunity to face someone wearing a different color scheme before preseason games start.

The Bengals are hosting two joint practices with the Vikings as a lead-in to their matchup Friday at Paul Brown Stadium. A crowd of 1,950 attended the first session Wednesday. Last year, the Bengals did the same with the Giants.

“It makes you better,” cornerback Adam Jones said. “I go against A.J. (Green) and all those guys every day and they pretty much know me as a player and I know them, so it’s almost a chess match in practice. But it’s always good when you can go and change up your techniques and throw a couple different techniques out there when you’re pressing, just to see how they react to it. This is the time to get better. You go out and have fun and whatever happens, happens.”

A little déjà vu: This time a year ago, offensive tackle Andre Smith and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur were wearing Bengals stripes. Now they are lining up in purple and white against their old teammates.

“I’ve never been around this part of the stadium before, but I’m just blessed to be out here with the guys competing,” said Lamur, who signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2012. “It kind of felt like I never left. It felt like just yesterday I was here, but it brought back a lot of memories.

“These boys are still my brothers,” he added. “We’re still doing handshakes, and that says a lot. … We had a bond. We had a chemistry, and I believe that’s what makes a good team, and that’s what I am trying to manifest in this locker room with the Vikings, just coming together and being close.”

Smith said it was “a different perspective” going against the same defense he practiced against for seven years, but this time in a different offense. It made his job a little easier Wednesday.

“It was good to go against those guys because I know what type of players they are, and I know how they get after the quarterback, and it’s just a great opportunity for us to get better,” Smith said.

Roll call: Left tackle Andrew Whitworth did not participate for a fourth straight practice but did conditioning drills on the side. No one else unexpectedly sat out, but rookie defensive tackle Andrew Billings, a fourth-round draft pick out of Baylor, was carted out of practice with an apparent knee injury suffered in a pass-rush drill.

Billings will undergo an MRI, and according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, the team has “cautious optimism” the test won’t reveal a season-ending injury.

Serious competition: It took just under 30 minutes for the first fight to break out. Jones and Vikings receiver Adam Thielen exchanged words and pushes at the end of a pass play to Charles Johnson, whose helmet popped off when he was swung to the ground by Chris Lewis-Harris.

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