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Vikings Training Camp: 8/2 Morning Recap

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A quick review of the Saturday morning walkthrough.

Rodney Smith being interviewed by a devilishly handsome blogger after practice Saturday.
Rodney Smith being interviewed by a devilishly handsome blogger after practice Saturday.

The Vikings have certainly ordered up some amazing weather while I have been down for Training Camp, and Saturday morning was no different. Temperatures in the mid 80's and only a small smattering of clouds meant the weekend crowd in Mankato was especially large for the morning session:

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If you have been following us through camp thus far, you should know the drill by now. The morning walkthrough is basically to watch players jog through plays while people like me try to read way too much into what the potential depth chart might be on both sides of the ball. And if you have been following us through camp thus far, I don't have a lot of new stuff to report, so today's recap is going to be pretty short.

SATURDAY MORNING NOTEBOOK

  • The first team base defense was still the same with Josh Robinson still sitting out: Brian Robison, Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn, Mistral Raymond, and Harrison Smith. When they went to nickel Marcus Sherels came in on the outside, Munnerlyn moved to the slot, and Brinkley came off.
  • The second team base defense was as follows: Corey Wootton, Fred Evans, Tom Johnson, Scott Crichton, Gerald Hodges, Audie Cole, Brandon Watts, Sherels, Jamarca Sanford, Kurt Coleman, and Derek Cox. Michael Mauti rotated in for Hodges as well.
  • The first and second team offensive lines seem to be fairly set. From left to right: Kalil-Johnson-Sullivan-Fusco-Loadholt on the first team, Richardson-Yankey-Berger-Ducasse-Remmers on the second team.
  • Tight end Mike Higgins is the MVP of morning walkthroughs. For some reason he gets more passes thrown to him during these things than anyone else.
  • Matt Cassel is very comfortable throwing to Matt Asiata out of the backfield. I bet I have seen that combination a hundred times over the past three days between all the drills and 11-on-11.
  • Cassel unleashed a nice long throw to Jerome Simpson for a "touchdown" in half-speed 11-on-11 and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Remember, these guys were barely breaking into a jog. After I tweeted about it someone asked me who got "beat" on the coverage. Um...
  • The coaches on both sides of the ball were really intense this morning. I noted that it was kind of a down day for the team on Friday and I think the staff agreed. There were many more instances of coaches stopping plays right after the snap, barking out instructions, and making them do it all over again. Looks like things need to be tightened up before tonight's evening practice.
  • Norv Turner might have been the most vocal of anyone out there. During one play where the defense showed a big blitz against Teddy Bridgewater, Turner called a "time out" to make sure that Bridgewater was going through the correct reads and progressions. I have been a little surprised to see Turner's level of intensity since he doesn't really have that kind of reputation.
  • I mentioned the temperature was in the mid 80's. I was nearly sweating through my t-shirt and shorts, yet Mike Zimmer was wearing a windbreaker jacket and black pants. He didn't look the least bit uncomfortable. You know why? BECAUSE MIKE ZIMMER IS F*CKING COLD BLOODED, THAT'S WHY.
  • Rodney Smith seems to be catching up to Adam Thielen a bit on the depth chart. Smith has been improving every day I have seen him out here while camp favorite Thielen appears to have leveled off a bit over the past few days.
  • Speaking of Rodney Smith, I chatted with him after practice for a few minutes (as pictured above). I asked him if he was focusing on where he might fit in on the team but he said he's simply focusing on getting to know Norv Turner's complex offense. Smith said that they're working on installing new things every day both on the field and in the meeting room. Smith has been lining up mostly on the outside but he said that which side he lines up can vary greatly depending on the personnel package. I asked if they have started to prepare for the Raiders yet and he said they're only focusing on their offense for now. Smith said that he feels great after just over a week of camp and has been working hard to make sure he can maintain his health so he can give himself the best opportunity to succeed.
I'll be posting the highlights of the Mike Zimmer press conference later today--for now they're kicking us out of the media room until about 5 PM to get ready for tonight's "scrimmage". (Spoiler alert from Zimmer--don't expect much live action tonight if you're watching.) Stay tuned, and as always thanks for following along!