Continuing in coverage of Vikings OTAs, the media was finally allowed back in to watch the Vikings practice again today. We got a few snippets from Mike Wobschall and Vikings.com yesterday, but today we were once again treated to an on-going live tweet of the festivities from Tom Pelissero and company. If you missed it live, you can catch the recap here. I'm sure we'll continue to get even more coverage from the other media entities as the day unfolds, but here is an early look at how practice went.
Starting with injuries:
-Nathan Williams (UDFA) sat out with an ankle
-Jacob Lacey sat out with a thumb
-Jared Allen didn't participate as he's still rehabbing from shoulder surgery (won't participate until Training Camp)
-Nothing new to report from the players still rehabbing from last week
Matt Cassel started off the day pretty shaky, throwing back-to-back interceptions. Ponder likewise threw two interceptions today, but he also did well finding a variety of receivers including Patterson, Jennings, and Rudolph among others. Ponder also reportedly looked great in the hurry-up drill.
Receivers and Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph is more confident and sure of himself according to coach Frazier. Apparently the Pro Bowl performance "flipped a switch" for him. Patterson had a finger-tip reception getting behind Xavier Rhodes. Jennings looked fine after the minor ankle tweak last week. Joe Webb also got some action with the 1st team making a catch on a long drag route.
Brian Robison looked great, not needing surgery on an elbow injury and saying his shoulder healed fine. It must have felt good, because he also snagged TWO interceptions today. One was a leaping INT in the back of the endzone. Jared Allen is growing his mullet back for 2013, check out a picture of his progress thus far. He's still rehabbing his torn labrum, but is reportedly sleeping better now than he was during last season. Allen is also "on the same page" with the Vikings organization on a contract extension, but will not comment on whether he and the team has had any talks about it.
Joe Webb took some reps as a punt returner (first for practicing it in the NFL apparently), although Frazier says they plan to use him primarily as a receiver and only occasionally as a kickoff returner. After the practice was over, coach Priefer pulled all the rookies back onto the field to review a punt look. Priefer obviously takes his job very seriously, and if Jeff Locke turns out to be as good as the hype, it will be interesting to see how long he remains a Special Teams coach.
Apparently Frazier tried a new format for practice this week where he had offense and defense drills running simultaneously on opposite halves of the field. This expedited some practice and made more efficient use of the 2-hour limit the new CBA installed to avoid having half the team just standing around. According to Frazier he got the idea from some college coaches who are similarly limited in how much time they can spend on the practice field.
Like I said above, I'm sure we'll get more coverage as the afternoon unfolds, as interviews and other observations make their way through the various media channels. But in the meantime, check out Frazier's post-practice press conference on Vikings.com. Here are a few choice nuggets:
To have 100% participation in our meetings and to have guys here working hard doesn't guarantee future success, but it does give you a chance to have success.
In answering a question about Peterson reaching 2500 yards, it appeared to me that he was refraining from laughing while he said the following,
If he rushes for 2500 yards and we reach our goal of heading to New York at the end of the year, we'd be very very happy. It's hard to predict whether he rushing for 2500 yards would impede on our ability to be successful as a team...if it helps us reach our goals as a team, so be it...Our offense is always going to run through Adrian, but we want to pass the ball better than we did a year ago.
In response to the guard position, Frazier mentioned that they hope the competition they have added with their draft picks and free agents will push Charlie Johnson and Brando Fusco to get better, and Frazier mentioned that if they should falter, that they feel they now have depth behind them to tap.
Jeff George was a guest coach for us this week, just coming to observe and take a look at coaching and see if that's something he's interested in doing.
That's all I got so far. What storylines are you most interested in?
UPDATE: Check out this video of Kyle Rudolph during today's OTAs as well.