Tonight was supposed to be a dissection of the live scrimmage, with some additional notes and thoughts from what I had seen on film. Instead, we were treated to some bad practice angles, with hurried reports of some of the live drills (there was no scrimmage) given to us via twitter. We rounded off the night with some worrisome news, which I'll start off with. Then we'll hit the usual order, with the rest of the injury news below the jump.
As far as we can tell, from the sources we've cobbled together, Greg Childs went up to catch a sideline throw on a deep ball, and fell awkwardly on one of his legs, which may have bent unnaturally. He stayed on the ground and started screaming, while clutching his right knee, the knee he injured in college. Four trainers approached him and worked on both knees.
He was carted off and both knees were examined by team doctors, which eventually led to an MRI. The MRI was initially inconclusive because of swelling in both knees, but Tom Pelissero tweeted that the worry was that he tore both patella tendons, which is the same injury he suffered at Arkansas (but only for one knee).
That was confirmed earlier this morning by the Vikings staff; an injury that is difficult to come back from. His rehabilitation process will take over a year, and in all likelihood, he will not play in the NFL again. Our thoughts go out to Childs.
He was flashing a lot of potential throughout camp, and showed he had the physical talents and the technical skills to start for the Vikings within a few years, rare for a fourth-round pick.
In other, non-Greg news, we have a few highlights or key takeaways from yesterday:
- The Vikings offense performed well in red zone drills, with high completion percentages (Christian Ponder was 6/6 for a while) and a good number of touchdowns (4 of those 6 were touchdowns). Best plays from red zone team drills were a Ponder to Percy Harvin on a slant and Joe Webb to Allen Reisner with a fade route at the back of the end zone.
- The defense had it's way, too. Chris Cook performed well, and had a few impressive pass breakups
- Ponder's game wasn't all smiles, though. In consecutive plays, he underthrew Harvin, then overthrew a wide open Jerome Simpson, who busted past corner Brandon Burton and safety Jamarca Sanford.
- Blair Walsh impressed observers, as he was 7/8 in field goals, all ranging from 36-50+ yards. His 50 yarder cleared the goalposts by at least 10 yards and was dead center. His missed field goal was from 45 yards out and was wide right. Video of Blair Walsh's 50 yard kick below the jump.
- In the move-the-chains drill, Ponder was 5/5, until a touch sack by Fred Evans and a holding penalty (no word on who) held them back beyond field goal range.
- Michael Jenkins had just dropped down the depth chart, and was taking 3rd team reps. It is unlikely that this will continue
- Ponder was 8/12 in team drills, bringing him up to 41/65, which is 63%. He was 7/7 in the 7v7 drills.
There are some good 2nd and 3rd team highlights as well, so if you want to, you can scroll all the way to the bottom after the jump. Injury report and media review next.
- Josh Robinson is coming back well from injury, and was on the field in team drills, while maintaining good form to make plays. He should be fully healed very, very soon. He isn't rushing and "trying to be wise" about his injury. Good for him.
- Jeff Charleston's injury was apparently not significant, as his MRI revealed nothing. He was in pads but did not participate on Saturday. He'll be back in full force on Monday
- DeMarcus Love (shoulder), Pat Brown (knee), Robert Blanton (hamstring), Jordan Todman (ankle), John Carlson (hamstring) and Kamar Jorden (wrist) all sat out. Blanton, Todman and Jorden are all believed to be day-to-day.
- Geoff Schwartz is targeting a Week 1 return (5 week recovery plan) after his surgery to repair a sports hernia. It is not related to his hip injury.
- Adrian Peterson was out as well, but will be missing on the field on Monday because of his Houston court date.
We can start with 1500ESPN again, mostly because they've produced a bit more than last time. As always, a look at the notebook is worthwhile. A lot of it is injury related, but the non injury related news is interesting. Nobody scored in the move-the-ball drill, but the offense thrived in the red zone. There's some more about Josh Robinson that I'll touch on in the 2nd and 3rd string news, but what should be highlighted is that the Vikings expect him to make serious contributions on the defense as a rookie.
Tom also points out that Alan Williams gave soft support (no ringing endorsement) to Jasper Brinkley, who should not need reassurances about his ability to handle the responsibilities that come with being a starting middle linebacker, according to Williams.
Brinkley's play has been consistent, he says, but "it's only been five practices." Don't give him an ego with all that praise, Williams.
Tom says the Vikings won't hold back from real defensive playcalling in their preseason game against San Francisco. The focus will not be to deceive others, but to correctly install, execute and evaluate players for their defense. Don't expect complex defenses and schemes, but know that a number of the base packages will be on display.
The live situation will be a critical part of organizing the depth chart.
Every media source is on the Childs injury, but as of right now the Pioneer Press has the most up-to-date story on its implications. The possibilities for a split end are limited, and Jeremy Fowler—like myself—doesn't think that there are a lot of options here.
Jenkins is primarily a possession receiver, and although Stephen Burton has been working the slot, he fits the possession receiver mold more than a deep threat. Jarius Wright is not a fit here, largely because of his size, and Devin Aromashodu is too inconsistent to be a threat. There is the possibility that Emmanuel Arceneaux flashes something as well.
Fowler goes on to say that the potential free agents that could fill in are Mike Sims-Walker, who had one good season, Mike Williams, who was just cut by the Seahawks, Roy Williams, who is 30 and always had issues, or Terrell Owens whom you all know.
In terms of the UDFAs, I think only Kerry Taylor shows the kind of speed you would want in your split end, but I don't think he has enough talent to start opposite Harvin in the first three games.
Jeremy believes, again like I do, that this does not imply that Spielman made a poor choice drafting Childs.
Other than that, the Pioneer Press doesn't have much more to say about the Vikings. Brian Murphy published a story on our secondary and how we've got a great set of cornerbacks at the bottom of our depth chart. I disagree with him that Sherels has a spot because of his punt return duties, but it's otherwise a decent story on the type of turnaround we might be able to expect.
While the Pioneer Press is up-to-date on this issue, the Star Tribune has the most detail. Nothing we haven't already touched on, but it does give us a bit of a brief injury history of Childs.
More importantly, Star Tribune has a bit of good coverage we can check out. They have a small profile on Audie Cole, who apparently is a Golden Gloves winner in boxing. Guess he can take a hit. They also have a small chart on Vikings' deep threats over the years. It's not a good picture.
Better is Wiederer's story on Jerome Simpson, who might become a huge fan favorite if he performs this year. Charismatic and exuberant, Simpson has been a delight for players, reporters and fans. The story might be the best link in this roundup, so be sure to head over there. The biggest takeaway is his clear maturation after his 15-day prison sentence.
Mark Craig has notes about every position and what they look like for the Vikings. Some highlights:
- Ponder has made huge improvements from last year. Webb's inconsistency and inaccuracy shouldn't be discounted; says he "looks better in games than practice" Kalil is the real deal. No 2. RG is a bit of an issue now that Schwartz is out for at least a month, and the Strib likes Berger backing up the LG.
- D'Aundre Reed is proving to be versatile, and the Strib predicts the D Line is even more formidable than last year. Jared Allen thinks Letroy Guion has fantastic footwork.
- Everson Griffen has been very inconsistent as a linebacker, but has shown flashes of potential. The secondary is great, and "NFL worthy"
- A key focus for Williams is consistency with few mental errors. Seems to emphasize the mental aspects of the game.
- A lot of cliches, but some good things—there's been no dropoff in play after 5 days in pads
- It's still too early to make final evaluations for the Vikings players; still a lot the players are getting used to (the staff, the system, NFL speed, etc). Very young team.
- Alan Williams loves the CB depth/potential. It's a good thing we have so many talented CBs, he says, but it'll be very difficult for the coaches to make a decision, and that some will play for other teams.
- Erin Henderson impressed Williams because of his communication, knowledge of the defense, and gets to the ball well.
- Williams says Josh Robinson's injury isn't a huge worry, the team is just being careful. There is a possibility that Blanton rotates in, but it doesn't seem likely.
- He also says not to worry about Harrison Smith being on the second defense right now, because you cannot expect to evaluate a player based on five days of practice
- As indicated in the notebooks above, Alan Williams iterated that he was absolutely not going to "hide" anything in the San Francisco game, and that the focus is on making sure the players can execute the plays they'll run during the season
- Robinson had quite the night for playing below 100%, breaking up three passes in team drills, including one of Greg Childs on 3rd-and-9 and another one of Michael Jenkins.
- The biggest play of the night was McLeod Bethel-Thompson to Devin Aromashodu against Reggie Jones. It was a 50-yard pass completion.
- Andrew Sendejo deflected a Sage Rosenfels pass; it was almost a pick.
- Webb was 5 for 7, making him 43 for 63 (68%), Rosenfels was 1/6 (20/60—33%) and MBT was 5 for 7, bringing his totals to 10/20, or 50%. Webb in particular was inconsistent, with some "erratic" throwing.
- Emmanuel Arceneaux missed a good opportunity for a touchdown—caught the ball, but he didn't keep his feet inbounds
- Other than the MBT bomb, Reggie Jones looked good again, and forced QBs to look away from him. Had a few good pass breakups.
- Brandon Burton also had a good pass breakup against Joe Webb.
- Everson Griffen has pass-rushing duties even in 7v7s, sacking Ponder before he could release the ball.
- Derrick Coleman doesn't like to stop running, even after the whistles. He did break a long run against the third team defense, though.
- Bobby Felder is also looking good, but he's not rising above Reggie Jones and will need to show more in order to displace players like Brandon Burton.