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.
Tags: Heath Farwell, Jamarca Sanford, Jasper Brinkley
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