Vikings Training Camp: Day 3 Roundup

Lots of action today as the Minnesota Vikings saw their first full practice in pads. The day is ending, so it's high time for another media roundup. Before you take a look at the quick hits below, be sure to see what Eric and I have had to say in more detail on offense, defense and special teams. After those tidbits, will be injury news, a media review, and some 2nd and 3rd team news.

Beyond anything else, tragedy hit the NFL again, this time in the form of an apparent suicide. O.J. Murdock, a former teammate of Jasper Brinkley at South Carolina, was found inside his car parked outside of his former high school with what appeared to be self inflicted gunshot wounds. Full story over at the Pioneer Press.

We all enjoy the game of football, but sometimes we forget the men behind the masks. Every so often, we're starkly reminded of the humanity inherent in every human activity, be it work for social justice or merely entertainment.

Let's keep that in mind as we move forward with the season.

A few quick notes about some practice highlights:

  • Geoff Schwartz took more 1st team snaps at right guard than in other practices, but Brandon Fusco still took most of these snaps.
  • Simpson is high... on the Vikings. He had a couple of good catches today. He loves the offensive pieces we have and predicts big things. That's a link to Pelissero's notebook, which I'll break down below the jump.
  • Blair Walsh was potentially endangering airborne wildlife with his kicks. He also displayed accuracy in live kick snaps, banging in 8 of 9 (7 of 8 according to some sources) from 40 yards out. The miss hooked left and may have been in. Some of the kicks could have gone for 60 yards.
  • Some good hits in practice today, which I'll detail in a bit. Players were amped up for pads and contact.
  • We got to see the Kalil v. Allen battle. Kalil is a pro. Allen is a future Hall of Famer.
  • Ponder was 7 for 12 in 11 on 11s, and had a few more miscues in 7 on 7s, including an interception tipped out of Rudolph's hands by Mistral Raymond, into the outstretched arms of Tyrone McKenzie. One of his completions in the 11s was a laser over Greenway to Rudolph in the seam for a touchdown.
  • Josh Robinson still out. Hamstring. Frazier refuses to rush things and doesn't have a timetable set, but we will see him in action this week in all likelihood. Pelissero elaborates on what this means for Robinson.
  • Adrian Peterson was rushed to the hospital after an allergic reaction. He's doing well now, and we should see him tomorrow to continue his rehab. At this pace, Frazier wants him to see snaps in some preseason games to see how his knee responds to unexpected cuts and contact. That means nothing about his Week 1 availability, however.
  • Percy Harvin jammed his fingers and was kept out of some practice drills to get his fingers taped up. He returned for the final few 11-on-11 snaps.
  • DeMarcus Love missed practice due to shoulder injury. Expect him to miss more time.
  • Nick Taylor was waived. If he clears waivers, the Vikings will place him on Injured Reserve. He has a torn labrum.
  • Robert Blanton left practice with a tweaked hamstring.
  • Mickey Shuler, who was activated on Saturday off of the NFI list will be eligible, per CBA rules, to play tomorrow.
  • Stephen Burton was activivated off the same list, and cannot participate in practices for a few days per the same rules.
  • Michael Jenkins' knee is fully healed.
Our own Chris Gates reports that Matt Blair will be the next Vikings Ring of Honor inductee. He contributed in every way he could, and it turns out that that was a lot of different ways.

Over at ESPN1500, Tom Pelissero published a depth chart outlining what the Vikings have rolled out (generally speaking) in their first, second and third teams. More than that, it includes good analysis on three unproven players who will want to contribute on special teams.

His notebook, which I alluded to earlier, also includes a list of good hits. Everson Griffen punished Ryan D'Imperio for a catch underneath, and Brinkley crushed Hilliard on a blitz. My favorite was Reggie Jones laying out Matt Asiata, even though Asiata had already started slowing down. Jones is loving these pads.

Also in his notebook is an interesting story of how the Vikings are using technology to monitor particular players' heat patterns by swallowing a tracking pill.

The best thing about the notes he published, however, is his discussion of Matt Kalil and Jared Allen:

Jared Allen got the edge on Matt Kalil and made sure everyone knew it, yanking off his helmet and holding it aloft as he grinned and circled through the line of Minnesota Vikings teammates waiting for their turns in the one-on-one pass rush drill.

That dude is hilarious and I love how much fun they're having. Read up on it. It's actually as interesting as the amount of hype this battle has been getting.

Despite Jenkins' knee recovery, Pelissero is not confident Jenkins will make the team. I have to agree.

Judd Zulgad also wrote things, but they are more related to off-the-field interests for the Vikings. The new stadium will include "retractable elements," but not necessarily a roof. This could include a retractable wall, like the Marlins have, or... well, actually, I don't know what else it could be. But, it's a design consideration.

We should know in the next sixty days what the design moving forward will be (that's when they choose an architect).

Zulgad reports that Mark Wilf sees the Vikings as producing middle-of-the-league revenue, instead of revenue in the basement of moneymakers for NFL teams as a result of this stadium.

The Wilfs refuse to set specific mileposts in terms of wins or other performance for the status of Leslie Frazier, and are instead looking at consistent and solid improvement. There is also a small discussion as to what prompted the switch to a single general manager. It's worth the read.

Jeremy Fowler interviewed both tight ends, and it seems the comparisons to New England's offense is no mistake. Rudolph and Carlson have been studying Gronkowski and Hernandez (although Carlson isn't ready to make the comparison). Some good information on how they'll be used is in that article.

Fowler also did a piece on Harrison Smith, who is looking forward to proving his worth when he can hit as often as possible. He relishes the contact, but is committed to proving himself in nonphysical ways as well, hoping to prove he has all the technical skills to start at safety.

The Pioneer Press has their own quick hits, including some plays they liked. For instance, did you know that Ponder loves Rudolph and Jerome Simpson? Well, you should know again.

Brian Murphy, also of the Pioneer Press covers some of the talk surrounding the offensive line. Everyone is optimistic, and the play we saw on the field contributed in a big way.

Chip Scoggins has a good interview with Antoine Winfield over at the Strib. He seems to like doing these player pieces, and did a good job with one on Hussain Abdullah and his decision to pursue his faith this year.

Speaking of the Star Tribune, Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig produced another Access Vikings video, which continues to be unembeddable. It includes:

  • Nick Taylor waived (shoulder). Chris Stroud in. Stroud was worked out at minicamps and after Day 2 of training camp.
  • More Robinson updates (covered above)
  • It is hot outside (some of you might feel as if this is being beaten into the ground, but it needs to be said).
  • Every padded practice is more important, just because the CBA limits them
  • Kalil v. Allen updates
  • Offensive Line update—the organization loves who they have. Johnson is compared to Hutchinson (favorably)
  • Ponder looks comfortable, still a lot of underneath routes

Wiederer also has an informative piece on Ponder, who admits his inconsistency today.

Two more highlight videos for you. The first is a revealing discussion with quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson spliced with great training camp video. That's not all for Vikings produced video, as Wobschall was also able to interview Zygi Wilf. Summary:

  • Mankato is awesome to come back to, and is a good summer home for the team
  • Wilf is optimistic about Frazier, Spielman and the draft.
  • Getting the stadium deal was awesome and exciting. Somehow, he says it was great working with the legislature. I feel like that's lip service.
  • Wilf thanks YOU and every other fan for helping make that happen.
  • Zygi is a fan of Matt Blair, and everyone enjoyed the announcement.

This was never going to be a hard hitting interview.

If you want to be lazy and skip Eric's excellent piece on the Frazier presser, you can instead watch the (unembeddable) video.

If you wait, you'll hear my terrible voice ask some questions. Guess which ones!

The second is from a year ago, but should make fans anticipating the Ponder-Rudolph connection excited. It's below:

The last bit of Vikings media comes from Wobschall as well, and he isolates what he thought the top plays of the day were. It's a good list, and it starts off with my favorite of the day, which was the last play of the 11-on-11s. A goal line set from the 2, Rosenfels fired a beautiful pass to Jarius Wright in the corner of the end zone, who hauls it in over his defender and kept both feet inbounds. Rosenfels was under pressure; Larry Dean would have gotten a sack if Sage had held onto the ball for three tenths of a second longer.

Some notes (mostly on 2nd and 3rd teams) not included in my or Eric's coverage, or in our joint walkthrough coverage:

  • Corey Gatewood isn't looking great. He'll need to show up soon.
  • Kerry Taylor is looking better than I expected, but I don't know if that's enough for the team. Practice squad material.
  • Jarius Wright has honestly been disappointing me so far, but he's had enough splash plays that I could be easily convinced he'll turn it around.
  • I still can't choose between Hilliard and Todman.
  • Players that improved markedly over the course of the day: Joe Webb, Chris Cook and Reggie Jones. Players who regressed markedly included Corey Gatewood, Kevin Murphy and Devin Aromashodu.
  • Right after I tweeted about Webb's footwork, progression and ball placement, he improves all three things and looks as graceful as a feline.
  • Kyle Rudolph almost killed me (twice) and no one noticed. Blogging is tough, man.
  • Kick blocking drills were a great way for veterans to show rookies how it's done. Unless you're Zackary Bowman, in which case, the rookies will razz you for nearly eating turf twice, instead of hitting the dive pad.
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