Vikings Sign C Jon Cooper To Practice Squad

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 5:40 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said earlier today players go up and players go down, stressing that there is no such thing as finality in the process of building an NFL roster.

And late this afternoon the Vikings further proved that point by bring back C Jon Cooper, whom they had included on 53-man roster Saturday but then waived to make room for C Kory Lichtensteiger.

In order to bring Cooper back, the Vikings waived T Drew Radovich. And just for clarification, Cooper is now a member of the Vikings practice squad. Lichtensteiger is part of the 53-man roster.

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A Few More Odds and Ends From Monday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 4:41 pm

A few more notes from Moday’s action at Winter Park…

– Rookie CB Asher Allen has changed from #30 to #21. The jersey change comes after the release of Marcus McCauley, who had previously worn the #21 jersey. I asked Allen why the switch to #21, and he told me that he wore #21 in high school and that 21 is his favorite number.

– In case you missed it last night, the Vikings waived undrafted rookie C Jon Cooper from the 53-man roster last night and added C Kory Lichtensteiger. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was asked about Lichtensteiger on Monday after practice and here’s what he had to say:

“We liked him coming out (of college). He has played for a year in that West Coast offense there (in Denver). He was kind of caught in the numbers game (in Denver). I will be interested to watch him with pads on, how he carries his pads. He did not have practice squad eligibility, so that was kind of the thing that pushed it the way it went. But anyhow, I think he is a big body. He’s a smart kid, an intelligent kid, and an aggressive kid. You like some of those things.”

Asked if Cooper would be considered for the practice squad, Childress said: “I really don’t have any strong feelings either way, except that I still love Coop. He’s a competitive guy and that doesn’t change at all how I feel about him. There was another different guy out there that fit the bill and had to be a part of our 53 and didn’t have practice squad eligibility.”

– WR Percy Harvin was limited somewhat in the preseason because of injury, but Childress didn’t seem to have any trouble with the idea of Harvin participating in the return game going forward.

“I don’t really have any trouble with him settling under a ball either way, punt or kickoff return,” Childress said. “We have some good candidates to be able to do that. With Jaymar (Johnson), with Darius (Reynaud), you’ve seen Chester (Taylor) back there before. You’ve got to be able to move those pieces of the puzzle around. (Bernard) Berrian can return punts. You have got to have a lot of guys be able to do a lot of things. With 45 (active players) you don’t know who is going to be there and who is not.”

– Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini and RB Jamal Lewis will participate in a conference call with Twin Cities media on Wednesday. We’ll be sure to check in with you here on the Blog and give you an update on what they had to say. I’m guessing that Mangini will be asked quite a bit about working with Brett Favre last year in New York and also about his pending QB situation involving Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. Jamal Lewis will probably be asked a lot about RB Chester Taylor. Lewis and Taylor played together for 4 seasons in Baltimore.

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No Adverse Affect From Cleveland QB Indecision

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 4:26 pm

In an earlier blog entry today, we mentioned that the Cleveland Browns have yet to declare a starting QB in the competition between Derek Anderson and former 1st round draft pick Brady Quinn.

But according to Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, the Browns indecision is not adversely affecting the Purple.

“It doesn’t,” Childress responded when asked how the unsettled QB battle affects his team’s preparation. “You’re just, schematically, you’re going to look at what you’ve seen, you’re going to go back and look at Jets (Mangini’s former team) tape and see what you’ve seen.

“I know, as do our guys, there will be unscouted looks. They certainly haven’t shown their whole hand offensively or defensively (in the preseason). But you’re just going back and looking formation-wise where they’re putting people and what kind of players they are.”

Ultimately, Childress said, Sunday’s game with Cleveland will be more about the Vikings execution than the Browns attack.

“It’ll be more about us deploying than what they do,” Childress explained.

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Backup QB Situation To Remain Fluid

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 3:40 pm

Perhaps the best way to summarize the Vikings QB situation over the past several seasons is to call if fluid. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress acknowledged as much on Monday while speaking with reporters at Winter Park.

“I would just say that we’ve been to the third quarterback for all the years that I’ve been here,” Childress said.

Describing the Vikings QB situation as fluid is not a blanket indictment of the caliber of play. In fact, there has been solid and even spectacular play from Vikings QBs recently. But the position has also experienced its share of adversity.

For now, though, the starting position seems to be in good hands with future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at the helm. The backup position, however, still remains fluid.

With Favre as the team’s starter, both Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels will battle for the backup job. Childress wouldn’t declare a backup for this Sunday’s game at Cleveland and he also stated that it might remain a fluid situation throughout the season.

“It might (change), it might by opponent, without giving you any leads on it,” Childress acknowledged. “Yeah, I think it could change from time to time.”

Childress also explained the advantage of having 3 players at the position with the ability to step into the lineup and win games. The Vikings currently enjoy that position, with Favre being backed up by veterans Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.

“All you’ve got to do is look at the numbers of guys with starts in the league, how many started all 16 games, and I think it was sixteen out of thirty-two,” Childress said. “You don’t want (to play multiple QBs in a season), that’s not your first preference. But you need to have good players at that position and those two guys (Jackson and Rosenfels) are good players, as well as number four (Favre).”

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Childress Discourages the Feeling of Finality

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 3:08 pm

With so much attention paid to position battles during training camp and then the declaration of a 53-man roster following the conclusion of preseason games, it’s easy to welcome in a sense of finality at this time of year.

But whether you’re talking about moves made with regard to the 53-man roster or with the 8-member practice squad, that feeling of finality is foolish. And Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress made that point clear while meeting with reporters at Winter Park on Monday.

“You still want to see how people practice,” Childress said. “It’s still about guys having a good practice week. There are a number of those eight guys that are going to be inactive that you still want to continue to give you great looks. You can remember Madieu separated a shoulder on a Wednesday last year. Guys go up, guys go down. Guys get the flu. All those guys have to be up and whoever is giving the best accounting of himself is usually the guy you put up.”

Childress explained that development still occurs with players who are put on the practice squad.

“I think the thing that’s interesting about that with your practice squad guys is you still, even though at times they’re going to run (plays) off of cards, the concepts of football are the same,” Childress said. “Whether you’re pass protecting or throwing the football off of cards. Somewhere it has something to do with a play that we have. Where we can, we call the play that we have so we can watch our offense execute it. So we look at all of those snaps just exactly the same as we look at our guys that are preparing for the game, even though we’d be throwing against our defense.”

Ultimately, the Vikings head coach had no illusions that there will be players who don’t suit up on game day and that those players will be disappointed. But just as sure as they’ll be disappointed when they’re inactive, at some point down the line they’ll be asked to step up.

“I know last year we had the ‘woe is me’ with the eight guys that were down (on game days),” Childress explained. “The fact of life is that there’s going to be eight guys down, there’s going to be forty-five guys up and that’s the next decision that you come to. All of those guys (practice squad members) are viable members of the team and at some point in time they’ll be called on to have to contribute.”

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Common Storyline In Uncommon Matchup

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 12:25 pm

The Vikings and Browns will begin their seasons this Sunday by facing one another in Cleveland. And while it may be true that the 2 squads are uncommon opponents – the last time Minnesota traveled to Cleveland for a regular season game was 1989 – perhaps the most interesting pregame storyline in this matchup is a common one. It’s the QB.

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini is in his 1st year with Cleveland. Prior to joining the Browns, Mangini was the head coach of the New York Jets. Mangini’s staring QB last year in New York was…Brett Favre. So after spending the 2008 season on the same team, Favre and Mangini will begin the 2009 season on opposite sidelines.

The interesting QB storyline in this game doesn’t end there. Once the 2008 season ended, the big question in Cleveland surrounded the Browns QB position. Who would start – Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn?

Uncertainty at the QB position is something with which Vikings fans can identify. The Vikings were asking themselves the same question until the end of last month, when Favre decided to join the team. Oddly enough, there was a point in time far before Favre signed when speculation arose that the Vikings were actually considering trading for either Anderson or Quinn. That was speculation, of course, and those rumors were never actually confirmed.

But the truth or falsehood of those rumors aside, it adds to the interesting, multi-layered QB storyline that exists as the Browns and Vikings prepare to open the season together.

Even though the Vikings QB situation has been settled, don’t expect this particular storyline to go away. As of this posting, it was still unknown who would be starting for Cleveland in Week 1.

Asked how he would decide between Anderson and Quinn, Mangini said: “The information I have based on what they’ve done at this point is what the decision will be based on.”


Yeah, this storyline isn’t going away.

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The Abyss Is Over, The Regular Season Is Here

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2009 – 8:04 am

And you thought it would never get here. The offseason, training camp and the preseason are over and the regular season is here. The Vikings begin their season with bout against the Browns as they travel to Cleveland on Saturday for the season-opener on Sunday.

But before the regular season begins at noon Sunday, an exciting week of activities is planned for the fans, with Vikings players, alumni, cheerleaders and other personalities scheduled to take part in the action. Click the link in the previous sentence for a full list of the events and for more information on how you can participate.

One highlight of 2009 Vikings Kickoff Week will be a series of kickoff parties at Buffalo Wild Wings locations all across the Metro on Thursday night. LB E.J. Henderson, Vikings Ring of Honor member John Randle and radio voice of the Vikings Paul Allen are just a few examples of Vikings personalties who will be present at these kickoff parties.

The activities during kickoff week will lead right up to Sunday’s Vikings-Browns game, and that’s when we can finally put the offseason, training camp, the preseason and the teasing kickoff week activities in the rear view mirror and enjoy the real thing.

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