Hello Viking fans! I flew up to Minnesota to cover Viking's training camp for the next few days and decided to post my notes so far for fans to read over. These are my notes from August 2nd's afternoon practice. I have had a lot of takeaways and have had a great time watching and evaluating these players. More articles similar to this one will be coming soon, as I am covering today's practices as well as tomorrow's before I head out. I have also included an interview I did with Harrison Smith at the tail end of this article. Enjoy!
August 2 Notes:
-Kalil getting individual work on the side before practice starts, good. He needs it.
-Pruitt catching everything and blocking well. Routes have been impressive as well.
-Rudolph running great routes and getting separation. Seems a little bit faster than in the past.
-Patterson has looked very improved. Better at the catch point and also running smoother routes. Consistently getting separation and catching with his hands. Drawing a lot of praise from the crowd.
-Diggs' routes are even smoother. Something about him just stands out. He has the "it" factor. He also consistently gets great body positioning on the corner, giving him a high % catch rate even on contested passes.
-Kalil really struggling. Getting eaten alive by Everson Griffen.
-Teddy's improvement is extremely evident. Carries himself differently than last year. Much more confident. Also, that five pounds of muscle he added looks more like 10. He looks much bigger and puts more zip on the ball. Appears to have improved arm strength too. We'll see.
-Sherels probably having the best showing as a punt returner, but wouldn't be surprised if Diggs still takes the job. Diggs value at receiver is greater than Sherel's is at corner.
-Jeff Locke's passing abilities aren't any better than his punting abilities.
-When Waynes gets his hands on the receiver he's not losing him in coverage, but clean release's spell his doom.
-Joseph looks like a new player. Consistently stuffing the run here at camp. Should be drawing a lot of double teams this year which will help the linebackers run free.
-Adrian doesn't seem to have lost any athletic ability. Jump cuts still impossible for humans to make and his speed is still excellent. Has had a couple insane runs that consisted of him weaving through ridiculous traffic in the hole and coming out with what would likely be a huge gain.
-Rhodes playing with a lot more confidence this year, seems more comfortable.
-Charles Johnson also much more physical at catch point. Actually catching contested passes this year. Also running better routes. His feet are much quicker and he is more explosive out of his cuts.
-Poor Marcus Sherels. Getting abused by both Patterson and Diggs.
-Floyd is really impressing from a technical standpoint. Swim move, punch, first-step and footwork on full display here at camp.
-Barr has been participating in 11s which is a good sign, but doesn't seem to be back at full health quite yet.
-To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if by mid season Stefon Diggs passes up Jarius Wright on the depth chart. Not a knock on Wright, Diggs has just been that good.
-I don't think the Vikings will carry more than 2 quarterbacks. Also think there will be six receivers and six cornerbacks kept.
-Mauti plays through the whistle on a punt coverage drill drawing a "Really?" from Diggs followed by a "Yeah" from Mauti. Love his intensity.
-Zimmer told me that Munnerlyn has looked better and more "dialed in" so far at camp. Also mentioned he has had a few nagging injuries that have kept him from getting the amount of reps he should be.
-Danielle Hunter made a crazy leap over a right tackle (Maybe Clemmings? Couldn't tell) who was very low in the direction of the QB. Didn't reach for him or anything of course, but would have been interesting to see if it would have been a sack had it been a real game.
Offensive and Defensive Standout of the Day:
Offense: Cordarrelle Patterson
Defense: Xavier Rhodes
Harrison Smith Interview:
I was lucky enough to get a one on one interview with Viking safety Harrison Smith. Here's how it went.
Q: What kind of impression have Teddy and the offense left with you after facing them every day?
Harrison: "Um, you know starting with Teddy he's just way ahead of the curve for how old he is. I think with the amount of experience he has he's a smart player. Talented guy you know, cool in the pocket and everything but they got so many weapons over there it'll be fun to watch just as a fan."
Q: What rookie have you been the most impressed with and why?
Harrison: "We have a lot of talented rookies. You know, obviously Trae Waynes at corner, Justin Coleman at corner as well and Diggs at receiver has made a lot of plays. He's really stood out for a lot of us defensive guys that have seen him play."
Q: Just how good do you think this Vikings defense can be in 2015?
Harrison: "I mean, I don't really know. I guess we'll just see . I do want to add Eric Kendricks on that rookie watch. He's made some serious plays."
Q: The most improved Viking so far from what you've seen is…
Harrison: "Uhh I don't really know how to answer that one either, just because I'm pretty selfish. I spend most of my time watching myself so uh, yeah I'm kind of focused on my own improvement I guess."
Q: After a breakout season last year, what part of your game have you been focusing on the most this offseason?
Harrison: "Uh, a couple areas like red zone altogether, red zone defense pass and run. Uh making more plays down there and then uh trying to become a better blitzer."
Thank you guys for reading! As I said earlier, I am live tweeting from camp during practices, so make sure to follow me on twitter @JMcIntireNFL. I'll get my notes from today's practices to you guys tonight or tomorrow morning. Skol!