With the 2012 NFL draft and stadium drama behind us, I have been looking feverishly for "real" Vikings football news. I stumbled upon this article today from the Pioneer Press which discusses the Vikings offseason strength and conditioning program. There's a few gems in there so I hope you read it, but I will share some of the highlights after the jump.
We are all well aware of the setbacks that the lock out produced last year for our rookie head coach and rookie QBOTF, but how many of us wondered what must have been going through the mind of Tom Kanavay, Viking's conditioning coordinator? Well this quote pretty much sums up his built up frustration from last year, and optimism for the the upcoming season:
"With all we've been through the last two years, I thought they would come back in April maybe a little disorganized, willing to work but not sure about the direction," Kanavy said. "But they've been impressive. They are determined to be in the conversation this year."
According to Kanavay, several leaders have emerged during this offseason. In addition to Ponder, 3rd year QB/WR Joe Webb, linebacker Chad Greenway and 1st year starter Brian Robison have all taken the reigns so to speak. I'm excited to see that the leadership is divided evenly between offensive and defensive players. I am also excited, and a little suprised that both Ponder and Webb are setting the tone for the team. I am curious as to what kind of dynamic that creates in the locker room. It's common for the starting QB to be the team leader on and off the field, but I am sure it's very rare for the backup QB to also be a team leader.
Here's a quote from the article about Ponder's presence during the offseason thus far:
When Ponder isn't lifting, he's organizing team workouts outside of scheduled conditioning hours and encouraging teammates to move swiftly from drill to drill.
"He knows the rest of the guys are looking to him," Kanavy said. "Even before coaches working with him, he was organizing workouts and being a vocal presence."
The kid definately has the intangibles to lead this team. I am glad that he is putting in the work to make sure that his body will hold up during the rigors of an NFL season.
One notable veteran has been missing from the offseason workouts. Veteran DE Jared Allen chooses to train in the deserts of Arizona. The man is a warrior so I am not going to question his methods! I am glad that Brian Robison has stepped up and assumed to role of leader for the defensive line.
Let's put this in perspective. Every team in the NFL is in the midst of their own offseason programs. Leaders are stepping up across the league. This alone by no means guarantees that the Vikings will be much improved in 2012. I am glad that the Vikings are keeping this in perspective.
After nine wins combined in two seasons, Kanavy is looking for the work to outweigh the talk. It's easy to encourage, harder to strap a harness around your waist with a 45-pound weight attached and run a sprint across the field.
"I think the players respect the weight room leaders more than the guys that talk in the locker room or at the end of practice," Kanavy said. "Of course, normally it ends up being the same guy. But what players look for in the weight room, no matter what a guy is dealing with, injury, personal issue, they are always here, always on time, always working hard. We have a lot of guys like that right now."