Wednesday Afternoon Training Camp Roundup

Antoine Winfield, Marcus Sherels, and Brandon Burton look on as wide receivers and secondary players run 1-on-1 drills Wednesday afternoon in Mankato.

Wednesday afternoon was the last practice that Arif and I covered for the 2012 Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, so of course we went out in style. We took more notes and made more observations than any other practice during our time in Mankato this week just to make sure we gave you anything and everything about what we learned the past three days. You guys know the drill by now, so without further ado, I'll get us started and Arif will bat cleanup.

  • In full pads today: Josh Robinson and Stephen Burton, both coming off of injuries. Robert Blanton was still out.
  • Chris Kluwe was absolutely bombing punts, albeit they were slightly wind-aided. He was booting them from around the opposing 40 and they were traveling so far that I actually caught one on the bounce past the end zone. (I thought it was especially impressive since I did so one-handed and mid-Tweet.)
  • Jamarca Sanford is the loudest guy on the team, hands down. So loud that Brian Murphy did a story about it today. He sprinted onto the practice field Wednesday afternoon screaming "WASSUP WASSUP WASSUP!" at the top of his lungs. Really entertaining guy to watch (and listen to).
  • Out of the group of regular kick returners we've discussed all week, I think Jarius Wright seems like the least confident so far. The ability to be a great returner is definitely there--his cutting and movement are Harvin-like. But he bobbled a couple punt returns and doesn't seem like he knows where he wants to go yet. Of course, a lot can change since we've only had three padded practices this year.

(Read on after the jump for boatloads more.)

Rookie DE Eric Latimore seemed to struggle a bit with his hands and footwork on lateral movement drills.
  • Former Gopher DE Anthony Jacobs and the aforementioned Tydreke Powell seem to be long shots to make the team at this point. Both have noticeably less burst than the other defensive linemen in camp.
  • As far as borderline WRs go, I'll take Kamar Jorden over Kerry Taylor easily at this point. Jorden has made some amazing deep catches during camp while Taylor looks a little lost in his route running. That said, I think it will be a struggle for either player to make the squad.
  • While Josh Robinson was back on the field today, he spent most of his day on the scout team during drills. It looks like the coaching staff is really adhering to their "you have to earn your spot" credo they've been preaching at every press conference. J-Rob may be a 3rd round pick, but he missed time so he has to start at the beginning.
  • Jasper Brinkley looked incredibly agile during 1-on-1 drills. It remains to be seen whether or not he can excel in pass coverage, but he certainly has the athleticism to do so.
  • Matt Asiata is just good at football. No matter what drill he's participating in, he always seems to be in the right place. And that's exactly what you want out of a fullback. He doesn't make a lot of "wow" plays, but he's incredibly reliable.
  • I think Rhett Ellison did a little more than Allen Reisner and Mickey Shuler to push for the title of "Second TE Now That John Carlson Is Out". He moves very efficiently and got good separation in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Devin Aromashodu might run the best out route of any receiver in camp. He's very precise and gets his feet in just before the sideline nearly every time.
  • The defense is pretty far ahead of the offense in the run game for all three units of the team. There weren't many holes for runners the past few days.
  • Joe Webb's running is still an amazing weapon but he still might be relying on it a little too much. He needs to work on his progressions and getting more consistent with his passes.
  • Chris Cook has been absolutely outstanding on short and intermediate routes. He's closing down on wide receivers as well as anyone.
  • Reggie Jones has a nose for the ball. He always seems to be around the play no matter what drill he's running. He and Bobby Felder have been the two biggest surprises in the secondary this week.
  • Now that is an impressive amount of in depth information, right? But guess what? We're only halfway done. Here are the things that Arif noticed during Wednesday's afternoon session:


    Offense, Defense, Special Teams
    • Special teams saw Kerry Taylor, Josh Robinson and Stephen Burton catching punts while Reggie Jones, Bryan Walters, Jarius Wright and Marcus Sherels ran return drills.
    • Second part of offensive installation saw a return to 2TE sets; Rhett Ellison and Allen Reisner trading off 1st team work here opposite Kyle Rudolph.
    • O-Line worked a lot on pulling. Charlie Johnson looked good here; good footwork.
    • Tyler Holmes looked good in drills for protection; low, quick feet, strong hands.
    • Defensive installation wasn't much different, except Bobby Felder replaced Reggie Jones and/or Zack Bowman in 3rd team drills.

    Position Drills

    • TE/H-Back Rhett Ellison looked good in cone drills, and better than Mickey Shuler in pass protect. Shuler is still playing extremely well.
    • Tydreke Powell has very heavy feet and is generally slow. Lot of technique problems with his hands and arms as well.
    • Bryan Walters needs better cutting and planting.
    • AJ Love has really rough route running; not very precise. Did poorly against press in drills.
    • Greg Childs and Jarius Wright both exhibited good agility and pops off their cuts.
    • Jerome Simpson looked fantastic in route running, better than Percy Harvin today.
    • Stephen Burton and Emmanuel Arceneaux did not impress in the same drills.
    • Matt Kalil looked fantastic against Allen, but still gave up a sack.
    • Schwartz looked good in individual drills, and so did D'Aundre Reed.
    • Tyler Holmes was embarrassing in one on one drills at pass pro—looks like the position drill didn't translate.
    • Ernest Owusu also flashed talent.

    3rd Down Drills

    • Ponder was one for four on converting 3rd downs, but also had a 100% completion rate.
    • Webb converted the first three first downs (3rd and 4, 3rd and 5, 3rd and 6), but couldn't complete the last one.
    • Jordan Todman did a fantastic job getting conversions.
    • Reggie Jones had a nice pass deflection.
    • 3rd team offense was guilty of an illegal shift.
    • Mistral Raymond grabbed a touch sack in McLeod Bethel-Thompson's only play.
    Team Drills
    9 vs 7s
    • Jordan Todman looked indecisive, but still has amazing speed to get around the edge.
    • Matt Asiata had a fantastic block to spring open a run.
    • Derrick Coleman reads the plays well, but doesn't have enough burst.
    7 vs 7s
    • Chris Cook intercepted Ponder with a fantastic read in zone coverage. He also had a wonderful pass deflection.
    Whew! As G.I. Joe said back in the day, now you know, and knowing's half the battle. Sadly, that brings an end to the practice coverage for Arif and I, as we had to headed back to the Twin Cities and real life on Wednesday night. But don't fret too much--Skol Girl will take the baton from us and start her outstanding coverage live from Mankato on Thursday!

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