Naturally, my travel day was one of the busiest camp days, and I couldn't post about it until in the morning. Oh well. Not a great day for Ponder, but I've been assured that things look better than they sound. Quick hits, injury report (which is growing), media roundup, then the twos and threes.
- Ponder was 11 of 16 passing, totaling 33 for 53. Concerns about the length of his throws abound.
- This is the toughest training camp Jared Allen has been in, since Dick Vermeil ran them at Kansas City in 2005.
- Kicker Blair Walsh has now totaled 17 of 18 in live kicking drills at camp. Lot of long ones, including for 43 and 55 yards.
- Antoine Winfield rested again, and Chris Carr started for him again
- The Vikings signed guard Grant Cook, guard from Arizona, and waived DE Eric Latimore.
- Everson Griffen made an appearance as DT in the first team nickel package
- There will be no more live tackling at camp. "Thuds" is how Frazier described it
- We have video of Childs' sick catch from yesterday.
- Jerome Simpson is leading a player's poll for "most impressive at camp," followed by a tie between Ponder and CB Reggie Jones. Receiving one vote a piece were Matt Kalil, Bobby Felder and Greg Childs.
- A.J. Love was just waived, in order to sign Bridger Buche, guard from Eastern Michigan.
- Do you like camp pictures? More.
- Adrian Peterson is still out
- Kevin Murphy had to leave practice because of concerns with overheating. He's fine now.
- Demarcus Love is still out with a shoulder injury
- Pat Brown stayed out of practice with a knee injury
- Jeff Charleston is scheduled to have an MRI for an ankle injury
- Robinson finally got work in 7s yesterday. Coming back healthy, but the team is taking it slowly.
- Kamar Jorden left practice with a wrist injury. No further news yet.
- John Carlson's knee injury is the same as before
- Robert Blanton is still out with a hamstring injury
- Jordan Todman is out a few days with an ankle sprain
- Eric Frampton got the wind knocked out of him after Stephen Burton fell on his chest. He's OK.
- Geoff Schwartz has a sports hernia, and left for the Twin Cities for further evaluation and treatment after complaining in practice of an inability to turn left. Specifically, his problem is characterized as a painful soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. Surgery would sideline him for a month or more.
Star Tribune produced another video. They might be the only ones who produce one every day, which is kind of nice.
- Schwartz news. It's a bit obsolete, we have more up-to-date news above. It creates depth problems.
- Other injury updates.
- They opine that Todman looks quite good, so his injury is a bit of a blow.
- Some analysis on the Childs play—they like his size and speed, especially in the red zone.
- Chris Cook looking good again, several interceptions, great coverage. This is consistent with Eric's observation that Cook has fantastic closing speed.
ESPN 1500 only produced Tom's notebook yesterday. Tom agrees that Hilliard has a better chance than Todman, citing the special teams contributions. Christian Ponder was 7 of 10 passing (with one spike) in the two minute drill, but also managed to only get 25 yards, surprising QB coach Craig Johnson—who let Ponder have it. Ponder did not complete anything for more than 6 yards in the drill.
Other sources tell me Ponder could not get the offense past the 30 in some of the other drills. Webb and Sage news will be with the twos and threes.
Tom also says that Jared Allen, Phil Loadholt and Mike Priefer are scheduled to appear and speak at an event to 500 Minnesota-based military personnel who have served in both wars as part of the "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program.
Bob Sansavere, with the Pioneer Press has a great piece on Chris Doleman, as well as a better interview than our conference call. Worth a read.
Conversely, Brian Murphy and Jeremy Fowler at the Pioneer Press filled space on their paper with a relatively uninteresting story on how the injured Vikings are bored and frustrated. I feel them, though. Camp storylines are repetitive, and they have deadlines and stuff.
Better is Murphy's story on replacement officials being used, as a result of the NFLRA lockout. The money quote is from the president of the NFLRA: "To take seven officials who have not worked Division I games, or not worked the last several years, and to put them on the field has got to be pretty unsettling not only to the players and coaches, but to the fans."
Personally, I think he's right. The officials at camp have not been calling all they need to call, and ProFootballTalk has pointed out that the problem is not just at Vikings camp—they've only been calling what is obvious at all the camps. I think the NFL is the only major professional sports league that does not employ full time officials with full salaries and benefits. The fact that it is the most profitable sports league seems to compound this perplexity.
Murphy's story doesn't just bring up concerns about the competitive problems of poor officiating, but the safety problems as well. We shall see. At any rate, Murphy's story is an interesting bit that has a lot of different takes on it, so I think you all should give it a read.
Jeremy Fowler says that Michael Jenkins and Christian Ponder have some chemistry, although I don't know about that.
From the twos and threes:
- Joe Webb was 10/16, making his total 38 for 56. Webb ran the same drill as Ponder, and was 5/9 with deeper passes, including a 30-yard strike to Stephen Burton. Unfortunately, he did not complete the drill either, leaving the offense 17 yards short after overthrowing a pass to the end zone.
- Sage Rosenfels 1/3 again, making him 19 for 34. I don't actually have other Sage news. I'll throw my interview up with him when I have time.
- McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw for 1 completion of 2 attempted. He's 5 for 13 on the week.
- Eric Latimore's cut should come as no surprise to people who paid attention to Eric Thompson, as he was singularly unimpressed with the DE's play. I had predicted the first defensive lineman to be cut as Tydreke Powell or Anthony Jacobs, and still think neither will make the roster.
- Similarly, A.J. Love impressed neither of us. We are prophets, Eric more than I.
- No Chris Stroud news came my way. Should be here Monday, I guess.
- Brandon Burton, Zackary Bowman and Reggie Jones have all gotten looks in the first string in nickel package, as well as the second string base package.
- My favorites for the next two receivers on the depth chart are Greg Childs and Stephen Burton, with Jarius Wright in the slot. It didn't take long for Burton's return from injury turn into some impressive looking performances
- Don't be too excited by the Childs catch, although you should still be excited. Remember, Childs started camp with some route-running problems as well as issues with drops. These have decreased over time, so we can probably conclude that he was just shaking off rust, but keep things in perspective.
- Allen Reisner secured the first rep at Carlson's spot, although we should expect rotation.
- Josh Robinson's progress and return from the hamstring tweak has been noticeable. We should see some reps on Monday from him for sure.