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Vikings Training Camp: Friday Morning Recap

Eric gives a quick review of everything he saw on Friday morning in Mankato.

"The last guy that tried to tackle you ended up about 40 yards that way."
"The last guy that tried to tackle you ended up about 40 yards that way."
Eric J. Thompson

Another day of Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, another morning that saw an hour of extremely large men in purple shorts running around at mostly half speed.

Yes, the morning walkthroughs aren't exactly the most thrilling part of camp. But there were still a handful of interesting talking points to discuss while we wait for the real fun this afternoon:

  • Josh Robinson sat out this morning's practice. He was with everyone else in his practice gear but didn't take any snaps during the walkthrough, After talking to George Edwards at his press conference after practice, he confirmed that Robinson was being held out but he didn't know when Robinson would be back. We're thinking that it's the hamstring injury that limited Robinson earlier in camp, but I'll keep you posted if we hear anything else.
  • Robinson's absence shuffled the first team defense around. The front seven remained the same: Brian Robison, Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Jasper Brinkley, and Chad Greenway. Captain Munnerlyn shifted outside with Xavier Rhodes while Mistral Raymond and Harrison Smith were back at safety.
  • But the secondary shuffling didn't end there. Marcus Sherels (!) took some first team snaps on the outside with Munnerlyn covering the slot in the nickel package. It's crazy to think how a guy that so narrowly made the team the last two years is now taking snaps with the starters.
  • As for the second team, the linebackers remained the same as yesterday: Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole, and Brandon Watts. (Yes, Mike Mauti lovers, it's true. Oh, how the Mauti have fallen.) When Sherels wasn't taking first team snaps, he was paired on the second team with Derek Cox. Jamarca Sanford and Kurt Coleman were the second team safeties. Shaun Prater and Jabari Price also rotated in on second team corner in a morning that saw a ton of shuffling in the secondary.
  • Barr is lining up a lot in the "9 technique" position, which means he lines up standing up alongside the four defensive linemen. It hints that the Vikings are planning on sending Barr on the outside blitz a lot, or at least showing blitz before he drops back into coverage. It's a smart move given Barr's edge rushing skills and raw pass coverage abilities.
  • The team has lined up in nickel quite a bit more than their base package, which makes sense with how many three wide receiver sets the Vikings will likely see this year. So Brinkley may technically be the starter but he'll probably get significantly fewer snaps than Barr and Greenway.
  • Nothing new to report as far as the offensive depth chart goes. Matt Cassel is taking all of the walkthrough snaps with the 1's, Teddy Bridgewater with the second team, and Christian Ponder third. (Bridgewater has been getting some of the first-team snaps in the afternoon practices though.) The offensive lines seem to have the same definitive first and second units. The wide receivers and tight ends shuffled around quite a bit, but that's to be expected when there are 16 of them currently lining up.
  • Still no A.C. Leonard this morning. These "headaches" of his are starting to get Harvin-esque.
  • I'm definitely no insider, but the more people I talk to in Mankato, the more I think Jerome Simpson won't be a Viking when the season starts. Just my two cents.
  • There was a brief session of 11 on 11 this morning, and the two standouts were Bridgewater and TE Mike Higgins. They hooked up for about 90 yards worth of completions in only a handful of plays, including a gorgeous pass down the left sideline that left the crowd cheering.
  • Adrian Peterson stopped and chatted with reporters for a few minutes after practice. I wish I could write a recap of the interview, but to be honest there really wasn't much to report. He mostly talked about bringing his family to the scrimmage on Saturday along with some guests from his charity. Other than that, it was just a handful of "nothing answers" that AP has perfected over the years. (But hey at least I totally got to stand right next to AP and ask him a question, right?!)
Those are your highlights from the morning session. I'll have the press conferences of Edwards and Mike Priefer up later today (I have to wait for the Edwards presser to get transcribed since I was by AP for the first half of his press conference). I'll be focusing on the defensive side of the ball for the afternoon practice so I can hopefully write up a piece like the offensive notes I wrote up last night.

Thanks for following along folks! (And if you aren't following along yet, you totally should.)