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Don’t Forget to Send In Your Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 7:30 pm

On Tuesday we opened up the mailbag for this 1st time during training camp. We’ll be doing it again on Monday, so don’t forget to submit your questions or comments to wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net.

Please remember to include your name and town with all questions or comments. Remember that we’ll respond to all inquiries and we’ll post a few of them for each mailbag feature.


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Return Duties Add to Harvin’s Early Workload

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 5:44 pm

Percy Harvin possesses a unique blend of speed and quickness, which is why he’ll be such a dynamic threat on offense for the Vikings. But those traits also make him a prime candidate to handle kick return duties for the Vikings.

As shifty and talented as Harvin is, though, he didn’t handle return duties while playing for the University of Florida. This means that he’ll have to refine his skills significantly at the NFL level. Through his 1st few practices with the Vikings this past spring, Harvin seemed to grasp the technique of kickoff return a little quicker than punt return.

“Leaving OTAs he was getting more comfortable with the punt return and we knew it was going to be something he has to work on, so we just need to get him up to speed,” Vikings special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said. “As for kickoff returns, they were looking pretty natural yesterday.”

Because of his blend of speed and quickness, along with a knack for making people miss and finding the endzone, Harvin could be a dangerous return man in the NFL. Right now, it’s just a matter of refining his skills.

Said Murphy: “He has the ability to catch both punts and kicks and I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses as the camp goes.”


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Vikings Release WR Allison

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 3:54 pm

The Minnesota Vikings have waived 3rd-year WR Aundrae Allison, the team announced today.


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Farwell Will Help the Vikings Special Teams Fare Well

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 3:15 pm

The Vikings conducted a special teams practice on Tuesday afternoon, a standard procedure for the team during training camp. An exclusive special teams workout serves several purposes, including the opportunity for special teams coordinator Brian Murphy to conduct specific drill work with prospecitve special teams players and also give non-special teams players a bit of a breather during 2-a-days.

We heard Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress explain yesterday why he was confident the special teams unit would improve from 2008 to 2009. One of those reasons was the return of LB and special teams ace Heath Farwell.

Farwell missed all of 2008 with a knee injury, and his loss was felt across all phases of the Vikings special teams. Entering his 6th NFL season, Farwell has earned a reputations for being an outstanding special teams player. He was selected by teammates as the Special Teams Player of the Year for the Vikings in 2006 and 2007, and performances like his 7-tackle effort on special teams against the Giants in 2007 are how he’s earned such a solid reputation. Farwell had 57 special teams tackles in 2006 and 2007.

So just how important is Farwell to the Vikings special teams unit in 2009?

“Tremendously important,” Murphy said. “I think in the kicking game, you need guys to be leaders and the more guys you can cultivate and recruit to be leaders in the kicking game, the rest of the team follows along and I think Heath is one of those guys. He’s smart and he plays hard. I think the kicking game is important to him and he rubs off on other guys.”

Farwell’s return will link him up with backup safeties Husain Abdullah and Eric Frampton, a pair of former Washington State players who’ve become versatile and valuable special teams contributors in their own right. Now they will be on the field together with Farwell. On top of that, 2 of the Vikings 2009 draft picks – LB Jasper Brinkley and S Jamarca Sanford – appear to be willing and worthy special teams contributors this season.


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Not How George Allen Would Remember It

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 12:40 pm

Vikings Head Coach is going into his 32nd season of coaching and his 12 season on the NFL sidelines. At the same time, the Vikings are having training camp in Mankato for the 44th year. As you can guess, a lot has changed about NFL training camps over the years.

Following his team’s morning practice today, Childress was asked about how the environment in training camp has changed over the years in terms of the time spent at camp and the length of practices. Here’s what he had to say:

“It has to do with the numbers (of players) that they allow you to have in training camp. We used to have NFL Europe. You could be up around the 90 number (roster exemptions). I mentioned George Allen a minute ago; I’ve been to a training camp and watched them have 120 bodies when Joe Theisman was playing. There were people everywhere. It’s kind of like [how] the colleges have cut down to 105 or whatever it is that they start with, 85 scholarships. We’re down to 80, everybody’s got that number, so you can’t pleasure yourself as a coach and say ‘hey I want to practice three hours and grind these guys into mince meat and feel good about [having] a hell of a practice.’ Now I’ve got nothing left. I think you have to be smart with that, get good quality work because you want all those bullets at the end. I see the Eagles lost a linebacker yesterday. Still, no matter how hard you try, football is a violent game and injuries are going to be a part of it.”


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Childress “Pleasently Surprised” On Jackson’s Progress

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 11:49 am

The Vikings just concluded their morning practice, working under sunny skies and warm temperatures. The weather has cooperated for the Vikings to this point (knock on wood) and it’s also been ideal for fans, who’ve come out in force to support the Vikings so far during training camp.

“That’s a great atmosphere for our guys to come out and practice in every day,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “The weather has been great, the stands have been full, you can kind of feel the buzz. I think that’s great. It’s great to have them out there and I know our guys feel their presence.”

While meeting with the media following this morning’s practice, Childress said he was “pleasently surprised” with QB Tarvaris Jackson, saying he might be able to work on the side during this afternoon’s special teams practice. Childress said the QB has progressed “pretty rapidly” and seems to not be “drastically affected” when he’s throwing a football on the side.

While Jackson continues to try and get back from his injury, LB E.J. Henderson looks to be as good as ever following a season where he missed 12 games due to a foot ailment.

“He makes two plays in our outside run period (yesterday) that we can’t get there,” Childress explained. “We’ve got a hat (blocker) for him, we just can’t get there. So, yeah, he’s not missing a beat.”

The Vikings will have a 1 hour special teams practice this afternoon from about 2-3 and then head back in for more meetings later in the afternoon and into the early evening.


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Pre-Practice Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2009 – 6:25 am

The Vikings are getting ready to begin Day 5 of training camp practices today in Mankato. The team is scheduled for 2 workouts today – a morning practice from 9-11:10 and then an afternoon special teams practice from 1:10 to 2:10.

But before we get too far in Day 5, here are a few notes from the Vikings public relations office to think about…

– The Vikings have 8 players on the roster who have played in 100+ career games and have 3 others poised to do so. The leader is Ryan Longwell with 192 games under his belt and is followed by Pat Williams (170), Antoine Winfield (144), Jim Kleinsasser (133), Steve Hutchinson (116), Chester Taylor (107), Ben Leber (104), Bryant McKinnie (100), Visanthe Shiancoe (96), Kevin Williams (94) and Bobby Wade (90).
  
– Of the Vikings senior statesmen, 2 have started every game they have played in the NFL- 6-time Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson and 4-time Pro Bowler Kevin Williams.

– The Vikings lone season under head coach Les Steckel started on 8/4/84 with a preseason game vs. Atlanta.

– The Vikings roster cutdown dates are on the horizon. The team must be down to 75 players on September 1 and the final 53 man roster cuts are September 5. The team can assemble an 8-man practice squad on September 6.

– All 3 Vikings specialists- Ryan Longwell, Chris Kluwe and Cullen Loeffler have been with the team since Coach Childress took over in 2006.


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