When the morning practice ended, it was raining at a steady pace. It looked like it might even push the afternoon practice indoors, but the sun came out about an hour before practice, and everything went off without a hitch. Notes from Saturday afternoon.
Quarterbacks: Matt Cassel still getting all the reps with the first team, and deservedly so. There's no question that Teddy Bridgewater has the talent, but he's not as consistent as Cassel. Bridgewater looks good with the 2's, but Cassel hasn't done anything to deserve a demotion, and Bridgewater has yet to do anything to move ahead of Cassel. As a matter of fact, Matt Cassel looks in command of this offense and is making consistently good throws. Christian Ponder has third string locked up.
Line: No changes to depth chart from this morning, but Matt Kalil had some issues with Everson Griffen's speed during 11 on 11's. Only thing I could really tell from shells. First pad practice is tomorrow, and I think we'll get some clarity then.
Skill Guys: I tweeted this out earlier, but I can't emphasize how impressive Jerick Mckinnon's speed is. I never saw Randy Moss in a training camp setting, but I have seen Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, and I'd take McKinnon in a straight line footrace over either. I mentioned that both Adam Thielen and Kain Colter seemed to have risen above the rest of the wide receivers not named Jennings, Simpson, Patterson, or Wright. This afternoon, Thielen seems to have edged ahead of Colter, playing almost exclusively with the 2's. Colter did see some time with the second unit, but Thielen seems to have taken up residence with the second team, at least for now.
Line: Not a lot in terms of who looks good and who doesn't, but I wanted to note, again, the emphasis on teaching this staff is doing. Observing the individual defensive line drills, coach Andre Patterson pulled a pop quiz on the unit. He would call out a formation, and then ask someone 'what do you do here?' They would answer (and they were almost all correct), and then they would beat the crap out of an upside down plastic garbage can. During 11 on 11's, the one thing that stood out was Everson Griffen's edge rush. It was ridiculous, and on a bee line to the quarterback. Matt Cassel had to consistently step up to avoid the rush from Griff's side. Very impressive.
Linebackers: There is a lot of shuffling going on with this unit. As Mike Mauti said yesterday, the coaches are looking at everybody everywhere, and today was a prime example. Audie Cole, Chad Greenway, and Gerald Hodges opened up with the first team in the 11 on 11's, then the second time through it was Cole, Greenway, and Jasper Brinkley.
Secondary: Not really much of a change in terms of starters. Josh Robinson is still taking the spot opposite Xavier Rhodes, with Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton as your safeties. During 11 on 11's, Antone Exum was getting some time with the 2's, and one time starter Mistral Raymond is down with the 3's. At one point in practice, Mike Zimmer got livid with a defensive back, and gave him an earful. Didn't hear it all, but fornication, taking the Lord's name in vain, and covering the receiver were the key points in his message. Gotta say, it was awesome.
Your Mike Zimmer Daily Moment Of Zen: So I think I'm going to get a quote from Zimmer and put it in here every day. Today, the Vikings special teams guys were working on holding for a field goal. Collin Loeffler was running a JUGGS machine, and Jeff Locke was holding. Zimmer walks by, looks at Loeffler, and with a grin on his face and obviously joking says "You know, that JUGGS machine is a helluva lot cheaper than you."
You don't Flim Flam The Zim Zam, or you'll be replaced by a JUGGS machine, man.