This picture might as well be a video of walkthroughs. (Credit: Arif Hasan/DailyNorseman)
The Vikings have just completed another walkthrough, once again focusing on special teams. Without many roster changes or new plays being set up, the morning practice didn't have much to offer.
Naturally, Sid Hartman got the better of all the media by being able to easily violate any of the rules set aside for other media and interview the coaches in the middle of the practice field. With experience comes privilege, it seems.
Below the jump are a list of highlights compiled by Eric and I
My notes are even briefer than Eric's, so I'll let him start:
- The first half hour of every walk thru has been nothing but special teams. There is real attention being paid to the little things in camp. But after a 3-13 year, I suppose it's a good thing that they're starting with the little things.
- No major changes to the punt team personnel; they're still rotating players in and out pretty heavily.
- Special Teams coordinator Mike Priefer is a stickler for detail. He's always making sure that all 11 guys are in the right spot no matter which situation the special teams guys are practicing.
- Another fun Jerome Simpson tidbit: a bunch of kids were clamoring for his autograph during practice. He yelled back: "I'm at work!"
- With Carlson out, Jerome Felton got more looks with the first team in two-back, two-wide sets. Not much 2 TE stuff in the morning practice.
- Tidbit I didn't know until today: Derrick Coleman is deaf in one ear and has a hearing aid.
- We had our first Sid Hartman sighting of the week! His first order of business? Going into areas of the practice fields that are restricted to the media and interviewing coaches. Because he's Sid Hartman, the Honey Badger of Reporting. He don't give a sh*t.
- The first teams on offense and defense look to be pretty set, but there seemed to be a lot more rotation among the second and third teams on both sides of the ball today.
- DeMarcus Love participated in the walk thru today as the scout team defense, but of course there wasn't any contact.
- After practice John Carlson declined comment and deferred to the coaches to speak for him. Leslie Frazier did so in his press conference.
I noticed that the special teams are doing a lot more detail-oriented work than before, with particular emphasis on footwork in blocking and angles taken by tacklers. For the punt return and kickoff return teams, there was a lot of work done on maintaining or creating blocks on the run. Some players had difficulty keeping track of their returner as well as their blocker; the reaction time needed here is pretty quick.
It still looks like Wright, Burton, Harvin and Sherels are in the mix as kick returners, although we saw much less of that.
The defense was working on disguising coverages and rotating through their base set, including a set or two with Jasper Brinkley lined up as a single-high safety after all the rotations. For the most part, Jamarca Sanford is acting as the strong safety when pulled out of the Cover-2.
Again, don't expect the starting safeties in the first week of walkthroughs to be the starting safeties in the first week of the season.
After writing a piece on Bobby Felder, I saw him as the scout receiver when going through defensive sets, meaning he got no time at his position in the walkthrough with any of the defensive teams.
The offense worked on some 3 WR sets, along with some practice with flanker reverses in 2 WR sets. Felton got the first string reps at fullback instead of Carlson at TE. I don't expect that this means the Vikings won't use 2TE sets as often if one of the two starting tight ends is out, just that that happened to be what they were working on today.
I'm uploading three videos to make up for the short roundup:
These videos constitute 50-60% of what we see during padded practices. The walkthroughs are much less intense than even those.