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Vikings Conclude Day 2 of Practices

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 10:40 pm

The Vikings concluded Day 2 of practices on Saturday by practicing under the lights in Blakeslee Stadium with a healthy crowd in attendance to watch. The environment was a family-friendly one because the Vikings put on junior cheerleading and junior football clinics prior to the team’s 7:00 practice.

Following the practice, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said that QB Tarvaris Jackson, who left Saturday morning’s practice with a leg injury, will be “just fine.” He also had no update on the Percy Harvin situation. Harvin has yet to sign his rookie contract and cannot report to Mankato until he does so.

In Jackson’s absence, Sage Rosenfels took the majority of the 1st team snaps but 2nd-year player John David Booty also saw work with the 1st and 2nd teams.

Rosenfels connected on deep passes with speedy WR Bernard Berrian on a couple of occasions, prompting the crowd to erupt in excitement. On one play, Berrian slipped past CB Karl Paymah at the line of scrimmage, immediately waived his hand in the air to signal he was going to be open, and Rosenfels stepped into the pass and hit Berrian deep down the right sideline. Later in the practice, Rosenfels hit Berrian with another deep pass, this time down the right sideline.

WR Sidney Rice also made an impressive catch during practice, hauling in a pass from Sage Rosenfels in the middle of the field on a ball that he didn’t see until it was almost to his body.

The team won’t practice tomorrow morning and will be back on the field in the afternoon for a 3:00-4:55 practice. Following that practice, Childress will be made available to the media and we’ll have complete coverage right here on vikings.com.


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Childress Says QB Jackson Will Be “Just Fine”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 9:56 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress met with reporters immediately following his team’s evening practice on Saturday under the lights at Blakeslee Field. QB Tarvaris Jackson, who left the morning practice with a leg injury, did not participate in Saturday night’s practice and reporters were eager to ask about the QB’s status.

“Looks like he’ll be just fine,” Childress said.

Childress also said that he does not plan to bring in another QB to take a spot in the rotation, adding that the additional work for Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty will be productive.

“It’s good work for the other guys,” Childress explained. “We’ll be mindful of dead arms and stuff, but you can’t put a price on the elevated snaps they’re getting.”


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Familiar Turf For Vikings Trio

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 6:38 pm

The Vikings will practice under the lights at Blakeslee Stadium tonight in Mankato. Blakeslee Stadium is where the Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks football team plays its game, and the Vikings utilize the facility on occasion during training camp.

The Vikings have 3 players on the roster who have played on MSU’s Blakeslee field during their collegiate careers – TE Jim Kleinsasser (North Dakota), LB Kenny Onatolu (Nebraska-Omaha) and G Nick Urban (Winona State).

The team is scheduled to practice tonight from 7-9:15. Players and coaches will be available afterwards and we’ll have plenty of coverage on vikings.com.


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A Moment of Pause

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 4:16 pm

It’s an exciting time for the Vikings organization. Training camp has begun, the team is coming off a division title in 2008, Adrian Peterson looks better than ever and the defensive unit is enjoying the return of LB E.J. Henderson.

But in the midst of all that excitement, the Vikings organization had reason to pause today. It was on this day in 2001 that RT Korey Stringer passed away from complications brought on by heat stroke.

There isn’t a day that goes by that those of us who spend a couple of weeks at training camp aren’t reminded of Korey because a memorial tree was planted several years ago in his honor just outside of the main entrance to Gage Community Center, where Vikings players and staff are housed for camp.


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Day 2 Underway

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 11:52 am

The Vikings hit the field at 9:00 again this morning for practice #3 as they kicked off Day 2 of training camp. While the conditions where nearly ideal yesterday, the wind was wipping and temperatures were just barely above 60 degrees this morning. The Vikings will practice under the lights inside of Blakeslee Stadium tonight from 7-9:15, so hopefully weather conditions improve.

The main story coming out of this morning’s practice is QB Tarvaris Jackson, who was injured (leg) during an 11-on-11 activity when DT Letroy Guion fell into him. Jackson was on the groud for a moment being looked at by the trainer and doctor, and then he got up and walked off the field under his own power. There is no update on his condition, but as soon as there is official word from the team, we’ll let you know.

There was plenty of action before and after Jackson’s injury, though. The one observation I had from today’s action is that the defense looks very live so far in camp. I mentioned yesterday on the blog that LBs Jasper Brinkley and Heath Farwell flashed during the 9-on-7 inside running drill, and it was a handful of defensive players who shined again today.

Brinkley put a good, clean hit on WR Aundrae Allison at one point, causing an ovataion from his defensive teammates. LB David Herron also gave TE Visanthe Shiancoe a little business during 7-on-7 drills. CBs Marcus McCauley and Benny Sapp both had nice pass break ups and then there was a pretty good collision between Shiancoe and a few defenders, also during 7-on-7 work.

Given the early juncture of camp and also the fact that teams are trying to avoid injuries, Vikings defenders aren’t being irresponsible while making these plays. They are just good football plays that are going to happen when 22 professional athletes put on a bunch of pads and helmets and play the sport they love.

But today’s practice wasn’t a wash at all for the offense. While it’s typcial for offenses to come along a little slower than defenses in training camp, the Vikings offense did regroup in the 2nd half of practice this morning and perform well during the “special categories” portion of practice.

From what I could glean today, the special category was 3rd downs. There were plenty of instances where the offense picked up 1st downs in 3rd-and-medium situations, including a couple of nice catches by WR Bobby Wade from Sage Rosenfels. WR Darius Reynaud also was able to haul in a few 1st-down receptions.

Prior to Jackson leaving practice, I can report that the 1st team reps have truly been split evenly between #7 and Rosenfels. There are times when Jackson has taken 1st team reps in offense-only drills or position drills, but then Rosenfels usually takes the 1st team reps in 11-on-11 work. And that scenario has also been flipped, where Jackson has been with the 1st team in 11-on-11 work and Rosenfels had the 1st team snaps in positional drills and offense-only work.

Both defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media after practice, so we’ll have several more updates later right here on the vikings.com Blog. Be sure to keep checking back here to stay current on all Vikings training camp news.


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Analyzing Position Battles – QB

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 7:11 am

Over the past few weeks we’ve used a series of blog entries to take a detailed look at some key position battles that will take place during training camp. The positions we’ve looked at so far are RT, nickel back, WR, backup DT and backup LB. This morning we’re going to finish the “Analyzing Position Battles” series by taking a look at what will be the highest-profile position battle during this training camp – the QB position.

Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will battle over the next month or so for the job of starting QB. Jackson is entering his 4th season with the Vikings while Rosenfels, who was acquired via trade earlier this offseason, is preparing for his 1st season with the Purple.

At this point, there really is no favorite in the race. You can take each candidate and make a good case for why they should be the starting QB. Ultimately, though, Jackson and Rosenfels will be judged on how they perform over the next few weeks in camp and in preseason games.

Taking a look at Jackson, you’ve got a great athlete with physical tools that are impressive. Yes, fans recongize his ability to escape the pocket, tuck the ball and pick up yardage and 1st downs on the ground. But his actual #1 trait might be his arm strength. It’s hard to describe with words – you’ve got to actually see Jackson throw a pass to see how strong of an arm he has. Jackson has shown us flashes of brilliance, such as the final 4 games of the 2008 season. But he has generally struggled to establish a consistent standard of play, and as we know from what Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress has said, establishing a standard and making the routine plays routinely is what the Vikings are looking for from their starting QB.

While Rosenfels’ arm might not be quite as strong, his ability to pass the ball should not be overlooked. He has more than enough arm strength to win the starting job. Now we want to see how accurate he can be in game situations. You tend not to worry about Rosenfels establishing a consistent standard of play. He’s approached this situation with the right mindset, determined to succedd and determined to fit in with this team and help the Vikings improve by whatever means necessary. The question is, will his standard of play be good enough to win the job? On one hand you might say he’s been in the league for 8 years, yet he hasn’t been able to lock down a starting job. But on the other hand, if you take a look at his past you’ll see that he’s actually caught some bad breaks and he might just be an 8-year veteran who has finally found the right opportunity to take over a starting job.

No matter how you look at it, or who you might favor based on past results, this is truly a position battle that is yet to be determined. Can Jackson improve his pocket presence and capitalize on his tremendous athletic ability? Can Rosenfels get acquainted to his new team, showcase his consistency and display a comparable physical ability to Jackson? These are questions that will play out over the next few weeks, and they’re questions the Vikings coaching staff will have to make a judgment on in order to pick their starter.


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