August 10, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Good morning gang, how goes it? So 35 years ago today, Elvis died, and it was a big deal. I was 10 when it happened, and my only memories of Elvis were the fat, sequined jumpsuit Vegas version. But if you've ever watched his 1968 comeback special, or listened, and I mean really listened, to a lot of his music, you'll understand why he was, and will always be, The King. Here's a clip from what I think is his best song:
That was just a bad ass man.
Lots of stuff going on in VikingsLand, so let's get to it.
Adrian Peterson is practicing with the first team. 7 1/2 months after having his knee put through a sausage grinder, Adrian Peterson is ready to play football. Oh, and he's not wearing a knee brace either.
He is also a bad ass man.
Is anyone else just as ridiculously impressed with that as I am? Apparently the rest of his teammates are.
According to reports from the local beat guys, it looks like Peterson will not play tomorrow, but will be allowed to be hit in practice next week and will see action in the third pre-season game, which is generally the 'dress rehearsal' for most teams. In that game the first team usually plays into the first series of the third quarter, and a lot of teams install a game plan similar to what they would do in the regular season. I'm looking forward to seeing #28 back on the field.
We've got a lot more after the break.
Kevin Seifert of the
Evil, Corportate Overlord World Wide Leader dropped some knowledge on us a couple days ago about Christian Ponder:
8. Ponder charisma: Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder seems to have made some strides as a pocket passer. But I can say without a shred of doubt that Ponder has mastered the more ethereal parts of NFL quarterbacking. He has taken ownership of a young roster and moves easily between the inevitable cliques that develop. He is just as likely to share a laugh with fellow second-year player Kyle Rudoph as he is veteran receiver Jerome Simpson a newly-signed free agent. I watched him call team staffers by name and treat them with genuine respect. Ponder has some work to do on the field, but he has the makings of a franchise pillar off of it.
Encouraging to hear, no? I like the fact that he isn't shying away from the role of face of the team and leader. I remember writing something last year at Mankato contrasting him and the time I saw then-rookie Tarvaris Jackson when I got to cover camp in 2006, and the differences were stark. Ponder seemed natural working in and even embracing the spotlight, and Jackson never seemed to be comfortable in that role. That's no guarantee of success on the field, but if you can navigate the off the field requirements with ease, that stuff doesn't carry over on to the field, and it helps set you up for success. We'll see what happens, but it's encouraging if nothing else.
Speaking of Christian Ponder on the field, Mark Craig tells us that his stated that his goal for completion percentage on first and second down is 75%. ProFootballTalk.com was quick to point out that Drew Brees, who set the single seson record for completions last year, was just a shade over 73% and 70% on first and second down respectively.
F*** THOSE GUYS!
But like Brees, I don't believe those things you call 'facts' about his completion percentage. I want to see more evidence. At any rate, it seems a bit of a reach, but it's good to set high goals for yourself. Like 20th century Philosopher-Icon Casy Kasem famously said, "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Tom Pelissero tells us that all Vikings players that are healthy will play Sunday against the Bills. If you'll remember, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Antoine Winfield did not play against the 49ers, and as a consequnce, the Vikings run defense was gashed like a surfer's leg in the mouth of a Great White shark. If that happens again with those guys in, we could be in for a looooong season.
And speaking of healthy players, it looks like rookie 3rd round CB Josh Robinson will play Friday. He was also held out due to a hamstring tweak suffered early in camp and didn't play last Friday, either, but he's back to 100% and eager to go. Pull quote from Frazier about Robinson:
"The burst he has separates him from all the other players that we have in the secondary," Frazier said. "He can close and go from point A to point B as fast as anybody we have or that I've seen. ... A lot of guys can run fast straight ahead but it doesn't show up when you put pads on. But in his case, it shows up."
You know, if Robinson can be decent, and Chris Cook picks up where he left off on the field last year, and Harrison Smith keeps flashing some of his sweet skills, the Vikings secondary might not be the toxic waste dump we're all thinking it was going to be.
The Vikings 2012 training camp has ended, and after Friday's game the first set of roster cuts will be made on the 27th. It might be the last real opportunity some guys will have to make a favorable impression, and for many around the league, it will be the end of the road.
Tough business, the NFL.