There's a bigger break than normal for the afternoon/evening session at Minnesota Vikings' Training Camp today. The team is going to be having a full pads practice at 7:15 PM Central, which you'll be able to follow the action from (in text form) via the Open Thread.
Arif is flying solo for us today in Mankato, and he's got a few other writing commitments to keep as well as to us, though hopefully there's a notebook coming later on. However, I will do my best to provide a reasonable facsimile and get some of the reactions from the team beat writers from Mankato for today's practice.
This first one is one that I find particularly interesting, given what the team wants to do at the linebacker position.
Gerald Hodges will get some work at MLB, Zimmer said. "Gerald has done a nice job of the things I'm asking him to do," Zimmer said.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) August 1, 2015
Well, Hodges has gotten time so far at weak-side linebacker and strong-side linebacker, so it only seems right that he gets some time in the middle as well, right? I still think that Eric Kendricks should be considered the heavy favorite to come out of camp with the starting middle linebacker job, but Hodges has shown a lot of versatility, and might even find himself as the primary backup at all three linebacker spots. He's a guy that the Vikings probably need to get on the field more, and I suppose this could be one way of doing that. It would also give the Vikings the flexibility to mix and match their linebackers depending on the situation if they needed to.
The Vikings did a little bit of shuffling around the offensive line as well.
And David Yankey working at left tackle with the second team. First time I've seen this. #Vikings— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterStrib) August 1, 2015
Yankey did play some left tackle at Stanford. . .at an All-American level, in fact. . .before shifting to left guard, which was thought to be his best fit in the NFL. It sounds like Matt Kalil is continuing to struggle, so the team would be wise to have as many potential options at left tackle as possible if he should get the hook during the regular season. T.J. Clemmings might be the long-term answer at the tackle spot, but the team might not quite feel comfortable throwing him out there yet.
One spot that hasn't seen any change is right guard, where Mike Harris continues to hold on. It sounds like Mike Zimmer may have originally set a deadline of today to figure out what the team is going to do at that spot, but apparently went back on that today.
Zimmer scrutinizing RG; pleased thus far with Mike Harris. "It’s more important to make the right decision than a fast decision." #vikings— Brian Murphy (@murphPPress) August 1, 2015
Harris appears to be the answer at the spot for now, but there's still plenty of time for that to change.
Last, but certainly not least, our old friend Kevin Seifert has reminded us of a very somber anniversary for today.
R.I.P., Big K.
Remember, even if you're not a professional athlete, when the temperature goes up, it's incredibly important to stay hydrated. Heat stroke is something that can happen to anybody, but as Seifert says, it's also 100% preventable.
That's a little bit of an early look at what's going on in Mankato on this Saturday. Like I said earlier in the piece, the Vikings' late session today won't kick off until 7:15 PM Central time. Hopefully there will be more information to glean from that session as well.