This is sort of a general recap of all the news that came out yesterday from the media-open OTA. There's nothing new per se here, and if you've been following your typical Vikings news outlets you're already well aware of what's here. But in case you were, I don't know, working or something crazy like that and haven't caught up, consider this a one-stop basics resource, filled in with KJ's trademark opinions.
The Martian Cybernetic Creation From The Future, AKA Adrian Peterson, Is Doing Quite Well.
No seriously. I'm fairly certain AD is just not human. He's actually the Mark 7 Blaster-Unit Road Grate class, #527-28, and he was sent from future Mars to save the Vikings. Why? Let's not question our benevolent future Martian overlords.
As you all well know AD came close to breaking the rushing record last year, despite being hobbled for 7 games with a hernia. The only time we were even really aware that something was wrong was against Houston, when the injury flared up so badly he actually had a bad game. (Bad... for AD, mind you. It was still better than pretty much 90% of other NFL RBs.) Well, he had surgery early in the offseason to patch up the titanium coring that makes up his abdominal muscles, and he's back to 100%.
Er, 110%. According to Peterson, he is actually lifting MORE now than he was before the injury. Seriously, I love AD and wish only the best for him, but I wonder if we shouldn't just injure him at the start of every offseason at this point. It speaks to the man's mentality and dedication that each time he gets injured, he comes back better. There are athletic specimens, and then there's Adrian Peterson.
Having been fully rehabbed, he is a full participant in OTAs right now, and coach Leslie Frazier is as happy as a... guy who, uh, is really happy. Sorry I'm still working on my first coffee here. He is appreciating the boost in morale that Peterson offers his teammates, in particular the rookies.
Greg Jennings Tweaked His Ankle But He's Also Fine.
First off, I may not follow baseball at all, but how ridiculously awesome was it that he threw out the opening pitch in the Twins-Brewers game? Man, some Wisconsinites must have REALLY had chapping in uncomfortable places seeing that. And apparently from what I read it was a pretty solid pitch too.
But of course that's not really the "big" Jennings news- that was the fact that on Tuesday during OTAs, he tweaked his ankle and sat out yesterday. Immediately the internet exploded and Packers fans exchanged being soaked in their own urine for what they thought was schadenfreude... but was actually just someone else's urine.
Yes Jennings has had injury issues in the past, and yes he's no spring chicken. (Or a future cybernetic creation sent from Mars.) But he's fine. Frazier said it, Jennings said it, basically everyone in the know said it. Remember guys this is OTAs, and if Jennings wasn't in his first year with us he could have skipped them altogether and few would have even batted an eye. At this point Jennings could have a hangnail and he'd probably be sat out. Minor injuries are fairly frequent in OTAs, and vets are sat out all the time. That's all this amounts to- a vet with a minor injury who was sat out because it's really just OTAs.
Jared Allen's Not Here But Everyone Else Is.
Allen, who never attends OTAs (preferring to do his own workouts- and considering the general results, who blames him?) is the only Viking not in attendance, which is pretty impressive.
Christian Ponder Had A So-So Day, Depending Who You Ask.
All four QBs participated in front of the media- starting QB Christian Ponder, new backup Matt Cassel, The Highlander McLeod Bethel-Thompson, and PS hopeful James Vandenberg. Ponder threw 12 passes with 6 completions and an INT, Cassel went 6 out of 9, The Highlander went 3 for 5, and Vandenberg completed his lone pass. This means that Ponder, out of the group, had the worst completion percentage at 50% and was the only guy picked off.
So what do we take from this? Nothing as of yet. I can't find information (and if you do, put it in the comments and I will edit here as soon as I see it) on what defenders each QB were playing against. My random guess however is that naturally Ponder and Cassel faced the better opposition, with Ponder being challenged by the cream of the crop. Considering that plus the fact that a.) this is still just the second week of OTAs, and b.) Ponder's working with, outside of Simpson and Wright, a fairly new WR corps, and I'm not too worried about that.
The positives were that Ponder reportedly has more zip on his passes, and is making quicker decisions. To me that is HUGE. Injury concerns aside these two issues were the biggest dogs hounding Ponder in his last two seasons, the decision making issue being by far the biggest. Of course, if we're letting the low completion percentage and INT slide because it's still early, we should also keep that in mind here when talking about the good. Hopefully this is an upward trend that will continue while the typical offseason rust shakes off, and we see the Ponder we saw in game 17 last season for all of the games in 2013.
The MLB Spot Is A Competition (But Not Really)
If there's one thing that drives me nuts about the Vikings, particularly in the offseason, it's their bizarro-world definition of "competition". I mean, honestly- if you're just going with a guy, say so. Don't say there's going to be an "open competition" and then do nothing that even resembles one.
Frazier claimed that the MLB spot will be a competition between Erin Henderson, Mike Mauti, and AUDIE COLE. But there's a slight hitch... he also said Henderson will be receiving all the first-team reps at that position. Which begs the question: what kind of competition is that?
Essentially the spot belongs to Henderson at this point unless he were to totally flame out in practice. And even if that happens, there's still not any real competition- Mauti is a rookie still nursing an ACL injury, and while Cole only has one NFL snap to his name, that still places him light years ahead of our new LB. If Henderson were to indeed lose the spot, then Cole would in turn also have to totally flame out for Mauti to get the game 1 starting nod.
I may sound bitchy but really all that's fine by me as of right now. Henderson, when speaking about all this (especially during the OMG WE'RE GETTING URLACHER hubbub), sounds like a man possessed- which is a good thing in my opinion for any football player, especially a MLB. Henderson showed flashes in the past of real potential, but became gun-shy last season after suffering a concussion. If he's over that issue, then hopefully we have something on our hands here. And all that said, I don't want Mauti being rushed out onto the field anyways. The guy has three- THREE!- ACL injuries; we need to make sure he's fully good and ready before he starts seeing any actual football. I still believe Mauti will end up having been a complete highway robbery in the draft, but like Childs and Patterson, I wouldn't hold my breath for that in 2013.
Cordarrelle Patterson Is Probably Only Going To Do Kick Returns.
When Patterson was drafted, it was quickly presumed that, like Percy Harvin in his rookie year, he'd see time at both kick and punt returns. But not so fast. While he was named the starter for kick returns, the team so far is using RBs Bradley Randle and Jerodis Williams, as well as CBs Greg McCoy, Josh Robinson, and incumbent Marcus Sherels for punts. Whether or not Patterson will get in on that mix is unknown, but considering that ST guru Mike Preifer stated last week that he preferred to only see Patterson on the KRs, it's fairly likely that the team will not use him there.
Obligatory Joe Webb Mention
JOE WEBB! Yes, as mentioned before, thus far Webb appears to be doing well in his transition to WR. Frazier and others have lauded him for his attitude and work ethic, but of course it all still remains to be seen. WR coach George Stewart has yet to really go over the finer points of being an NFL WR with Webb, which will be the make-or-break for him. Still, his perspective towards all this is to be commended- apparently he's seizing the opportunity with all he's got, and that's respectable. And I don't want to hear the stupid "well what choice did he have?" posts. He had a choice- players in similar situations have chosen to sulk and refuse to do what they're told. Hell, just look at Tim Tebow- despite everyone in the world pointing out he could get one more shot in the NFL if he were to just convert to TE, he for some strange reason steadfastly refuses thus far to move from QB. Webb could easily have pulled the same stunt, and heck, I bet on the open market SOMEONE would have actually taken a shot. (San Francisco, for example.) But he didn't; instead, he's chosen to try and do whatever it takes to help the Vikings win football games, and I tip my hat to the man for it.
That's about the roundup there. Of course the team is full of positivity, which should be expected. They're coming off a very unlikely playoff season and, in most respects, have only gotten better.
But of course, they'll only win 3 or 4 games if they're lucky. LOLZ!