Conversation With ESPN’s Mortensen

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 7:42 pm

We had a chance to chat with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen today after the Vikings afternoon practice. Mortensen was in town as part of his “Mort Goes To Camp” tour, where he tours several NFL camp sites.

The video interview will be posted on soon. Our thanks go to Chris, who was more than gracious with his time and, as you’ll see, was a great interview.

More national media individuals will be at camp tomorrow, including Peter King of Sports Illustrated, ESPN’s John Clayton and FOX’s Jay Glazer.

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Starting With Simplicity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 4:48 pm

The 1st step to a great punt return, which can require a complex string of movements and deviations, is as simple as just catching the ball. Well, it sounds simple anyway. But anyone who’s stood 50 yards downfield from an NFL punter realizes just how difficult catching punts can actually be.

Everyone is pretty sure Vikings WR Percy Harvin has what it takes to accomplish the complex string of movements and deviations part of the punt return experience. After struggling a bit early in his NFL career at fielding punts, and then catching one yesterday off his helmet, it became evident that Harvin needs to start with the simple step.

“I think he misjudged that one that he caught right off the top of his forehead,” special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said jokingly. “He doesn’t normally catch like that. We’ll get him to catch the way everyone else catches.”

The joking set aside, Harvin takes seriously the responsibilities the Vikings coaching staff is giving him. He come to the Vikings with high expectations, and it’s probably safe to say that no one has higher expectations than Harvin himself.

On Wednesday, the Viking spent a big chunk of the afternoon practice on special teams work – specifically on the free kick (a punt following a safety). And Harvin took all the reps, catching each one gracefully (and never off the helmet).

While meeting with reporters following the afternoon practice, Harvin said he thought Wednesday was a better day catching punts and that he’s going to continue to work on everything to improve his game. Even though he’s only been in camp a few days, Harvin is already showing that his desire and ability to improve will eventually turn him into a even more dynamic player.

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Jackson Back on the Practice Field

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 1:18 pm

Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson was back on the practice field working with his teammates during this morning’s practice. He continues to recover from a knee injury suffered a few days back and looked solid while participating in individual, position, group and team drills.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell met with the media following this morning’s practice and he said Jackson looked fine. Asked when Jackon would be back practicing with the team full-time, Bevell deferred head coach Brad Childress and the training staff.

Today’s work involved 2-minute situations and a few more 3rd down scenarios. Bevell said the team is “competing hard and doing a nice job” but also that there are “still some wheels spinning in those minds.”

A few highlights from this morning’s action included an interception in the endzone by S Husain Abdullah and then 2 solid rushes in 3 plays from DEs Jared Allen and Ray Edwards.

The Vikings will work for a little more than an hour this afternoon and then head back for meetings. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is in Mankato right now as part of his “Mort Goes To Camp” tour. He filmed bits with P Chris Kluwe, coach Childress, and also a group comprised of Jared Allen, Heath Farwell and Chad Greenway. Some very funny stuff was produced and you’ll be able to see it on tonight’s SportsCenter.

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Vikings Add RB Antone Smith

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 11:42 am

The release of WR Aundrae Allison yesterday created 1 open roster spot for the Vikings. The club filled that spot today by signing rookie RB Antone Smith, giving the Vikings 80 players now on the roster.

Smith played collegiately at Florida State and was with the Detroit Lions briefly before signing with the Vikings. According to this article in the Palm Beach Post, Smith ran the 40-yard dash at a pro day in a blazing 4.32 seconds. That surely caught the eye of many scout that afternoon.

With the Vikings, Smith will wear the #35 and join a RB stable that includes Kahlil Bell, Ian Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and Albert Young. I was unable to be at Darrell Bevell’s press conference after this morning’s practice, but we’ll be sure to pass along any feedback the Vikings offensive coordinator may have had regarding the team’s newest RB.

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Don’t Forget To Follow Us On Twitter

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 10:35 am

The Vikings have begun Day 6 of training camp and they’ve settled into a routine as they continue preparations for the 2009 season. We hope you can attend training camp here in Mankato to watch as many practices as possible in person.

For the times when you can’t come to Mankato to actually see the practices in person (which we know is most of the time), we hope you utilize to stay on top of all the latest Vikings news. But there’s also another medium you can use to keep up with all the action – Twitter.

Follow the Vikings on the team’s official Twitter page – @VikingsFootball

I’ll be tweeting from practice (when appropriate), before practice, after practice and whenever something notable occurs.

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A Busy Day Ahead at Vikings Training Camp

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 8:15 am

The Vikings have a busy Day 6 of training camp ahead. Two practices are scheduled for the day, plus both ESPN and are here to take care of TV production issues. Add to that the regular daily grind of interviews and press conferences, on top of a couple of national reporters who will be here today, and you’ve got a busy day.

Immediately following this morning’s practice, I am conducting a Q&A session with Antoine Winfield in the VIP tent. So an update from the morning practice will appear on this blog a little later than usual, but it will eventually be here nonetheless.

The questions keep piling into the Mailbag, so thanks for that. Remember, we can’t post every question in the mailbag feature, but we will answer every email that comes in. You can send your questions/comments to the mailbag by emailing me at

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will meet with the media following this morning’s practice, so stay tuned to to watch that in on-demand format and also to read notes from this morning’s practice. That’s it for now, but I’ll be back in a while with more updates.

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