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.
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.
- 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.
- The 3rd team O Line (Including Austin Pasztor, Tyler Holmes, Kevin Murphy, Quentin Saulsberry and Chris DeGeare) looked terrible in run blocking.
- Brandon Burton came down with a pretty interception on a long Rosenfels pass.
- Reggie Jones did the same to Webb after cutting off Kerry Taylors route, which he was rounding off.
- Bobby Felder popped the ball out of Emmanuel Arceneaux's hands for a fumble.
- Everson Griffen, Ernest Owusu and Tyrone McKenzie tore into the backfield against the 3rd team O and grabbed a touch sack.
- 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.
- Chris Cook intercepted Ponder with a fantastic read in zone coverage. He also had a wonderful pass deflection.