To paraphrase Brent Musburger, you are (virtually) looking LIVE! At Mankato, Minnesota thanks to Daily Norseman's coverage of 2012 Minnesota Vikings Training Camp. It started out as a gorgeous Minnesota Summer Day, but by the end of the session one could tell that today is destined to be a scorcher. (Reports of a high of 92 degrees and a heat index of 96 are looming for the afternoon session.)
The day started off with special teams, with the punt and punt return teams walking through gaps, coverage, and strategies. There was also some emphasis on fakes, and the Vikings looked pretty good executing on both sides of the ball. It looked like rookie WR Jarius Wright is slated as the first team punt returner. This could spell trouble for Marcus Sherels' chances of making the team. D'Aundre Reed was singled out for his good performance on punt returns.
Of course, there wasn't any actual punting during the session--Chris Kluwe would receive snaps from Cullen Loeffler, but the ball never went in the air. After all, they're called walk-thrus for a reason, and they're exactly what they sound like. There is very little movement, tons of coaching, and even more standing around on the sidelines. Expect that to change with the first practice in full pads this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the four quarterbacks warmed up on their own on the middle practice field. (A side note on why the NFL is a quarterback-driven league--there were no less than six Vikings coaches surrounding the four QBs currently in camp for the Vikings.)
Wide receiver Stephen Burton and rookie defensive back Josh Robinson both ran some light sprints on the other side of the middle field due to their injuries. The only other injury news was that DB Nick Taylor was placed on IR with a shoulder injury, clearing space for the signing of DB Chris Stroud, who will wear #43 during his time with the Vikings.
After the special teams part of the practice, the Vikings split up into offense and defense, so Arif and I split up as well. Here are Arif's notes from the offensive side of the ball:
- The walkthroughs had two tight ends on every single play, mostly John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph is lining up inside of Carlson on jumbo sets.
- The was a big emphasis on having two WRs out left in today's install; it's a way to put Percy Harvin in the slot.
- Second team was interesting; we saw Kerry Taylor take the first slot (WR2) snap of the 2s. He traded these snaps with Kamar Jorden. Michael Jenkins was out wide, and occasionally switched with AJ Love.
- Third team WR snaps were Devin Aromashodu out wide with Wright in the slot. Asiata took the FB snap.
- Some single-wide work was done, with 1WR, 2 TE, and 2 RBs. Jenkins took the single-wide snaps.
- Murphy and Pasztor seem to need to work on communication.
- Hilliard is still ahead of Todman on the depth chart. When asked about it, Frazier didn't say much--he still seems to be deciding whether or not he wants to develop the 3rd back as a "change-of-pace" back or have him focus more on special teams.
Here are my notes from the defensive side of the ball:
- Chris Cook was opposite Antoine Winfield at corner to start the practice. As soon as they switched to nickel coverage, Chris Carr would come in as the third corner and play mostly outside, moving Winfield in to cover the slot.
- Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford got the first team reps at safety, with rookie Harrion Smith and Eric Frampton backing them up.
- The first team linebackers are just as you'd expect--Erin Henderson, Jasper Brinkley, and Chad Greenway. No surprises in the depth chart anywhere at LB.
- The defensive line depth chart looked the same as well--Jared Allen, Letroy Guion, Kevin Williams, and Brian Robison are penciled in as the starters.
- There was lots of emphasis on run gaps and being in the right position along the front seven. Only during the last 10 minutes or so of practice did the scout team run some faux passing routes. The defensive coaches seemed to be pleased with the positioning of the secondary.
- In non-football news, I just had to Tweet out a fashion update: draft pick Audie Cole and free agent acquisition Jeff Charleston are giving Brian Robison some competition in the follicle department. Pony tails coming out of backwards white hats definitely seem to be in vogue this year.
I'm sure we'll have lots and lots more after the afternoon session, which is scheduled for 2:45 to 5:00 PM. FULL PADS FULL PADS FULL PADS!
If you aren't following Arif and I on Twitter yet, first of all shame on you, but here are our handles once more:
We'll be Tweeting like maniacs throughout the afternoon session.