The Vikings closed the book on the Mankato era of training camp today, ending a 52-year run. I wish I could say it ended in a wave of tears and fanfare, but it was a pretty low-key practice, and afterward I think most of the players and coaches were more than ready to pack up after a long couple weeks.
Not Much to Note About Practice
Today’s practice was in helmet, shoulder pads and shorts, and a lot of the drills and install had a walk-through quality to it, so it wasn’t a good day to evaluate positions battles for the most part.
There were a few miscues- Sam Bradford threw an interception- not sure if it was his first in training camp, but it may have been- he has been amazingly accurate with his passes, whether short, intermediate or long, and thrown with excellent touch and placement. So no, I’m not the least bit concerned about today’s INT - which Xavier Rhodes caught.
Pat Elflein had another bad snap in shotgun with the second team, which is something he needs to clean-up before he can win the starting center job. Stacy Coley muffed a knuckle ball kickoff too, but all of this is small potatoes.
In linemen 1-on-1 drills, it was generally a better day for the offensive linemen, who won most of the time, but not without difficulty.
I don’t know that there was anyone thst stood out much today, although I liked what I saw from Kyle Carter, who had a couple nice catches.
Case Keenum has seen a little more action with the second team lately, and Heinike more with the third, but I wouldn’t read much into that- Zimmer said the pre-season games will help determine the depth chart at QB, and no reason to doubt that.
Looking Forward to Buffalo
At this point, it’s good the first pre-season game is Thursday - the first real barometer of where things stand. Mike Zimmer commented that essentially he expects the defense to be further ahead, as the players are more established in the system, whereas the offense is still learning and experimenting with the new system Pat Shurmur has installed. There are also more new faces on offense among the starters.
This will also be the first big opportunity for players to show what they got under the lights. There are usually some surprises, to one degree or another, which can recast the discussion in position battles, and where the team stands overall.
I suspect this first game may raise more questions than settle them, but it will be important to get a first look at where the problem areas may be, and re-focus on what needs to be done.
I’ll leave it with a few pics from the last practice in Mankato.