A few observations from Monday’s OTA…
– K Rhys Lloyd was one of several veterans who didn’t participate in last week’s OTAs but did participated on Monday. Lloyd was signed by the Vikings this offseason and will be the team’s kickoff specialist in 2010. This will allow K Ryan Longwell to focus exclusively on FGs and PATs. I watched Lloyd work today during the early part of practice and I was impressed with what I saw. He would take about a step and a half and boot the ball off a tee from the 35-yardline to the goal line. Lloyd’s leg strength is obvious and it’ll be interesting to see how his addition impacts the Vikings special teams unit.
– I spent some time during individual drills observing the RB group, which consisted of Ryan D’Imperio, Ian Johnson, James Johnson, Darius Reynaud and Albert Young. The particular drill I watched required the RBs – one at a time – to engage, lift up and shed a heavy blocking sled. The drill is designed to improve blocking technique. As you may or may not know, RBs coach Eric Bieniemy is one of the most vocal position coaches on the staff and he’s also known to let his players hear it if they make a mistake. On Monday the RB group went through 3 full cycles of that drill without coach Bieniemy stopping a player one time. That’s pretty impressive.
– The WR position is one of the most glamorous in football. When fans think of WRs, they think of silky smooth athletes and TDs and TD celebrations. But there’s just as much tedious practice work required of WRs as any other position on the field. And on Monday I watched WRs coach George Stewart work with his group on a drill that required the WRs to run a quick comeback route, catch the ball and then turn up field. Obviously catching the ball is paramount in a WR drill, but coach Stewart was focusing intensely on small details, such as heel placement on the pivot, arm action on the turn and tucking the ball away after securing it. Coach Stewart has been in the league for 22 years now and he’s coached great receivers such as Terrell Owens, Jerry Rice and Roddy White, so it’s no surprise he’s concerned with the details.
– WR Taye Biddle and QB Sage Rosenfels hooked up for the play of the day during offense vs. defense work. Biddle ran a go route down the right sideline and Rosenfels’ pass arched over a pair of defenders and into the hands of Biddle for what would’ve been a TD. The degree of difficulty was high because both players were fighting a strong breeze on the play.
Tags: Eric Bieniemy, George Stewart, Rhys Lloyd, Taye Biddle
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The Vikings have wrapped up their on-field workout on Monday afternoon at Winter Park as they kickoff their 2nd week of OTAs. Monday’s session was OTA #5 and after experiencing ideal weather conditions last week the team experienced hot temperatures, heavy sunshine and a strong breeze to begin this week.
The weather conditions plus the presence of so many veterans made Monday’s workout feel more like a training camp practice down in Mankato on a hot August afternoon than a spring-time OTA.
Several veterans who didn’t participate last week were on the field Monday, including Pro Bowlers Jared Allen, Bryant McKinnie and Kevin Williams.
I caught up with Williams after Monday’s practice and asked him what a typical veteran’s mindset is during OTAs.
“Just want to get the wheels going again,” Williams said. “A lot of the work that we do during OTAs is work we’ve done before and we just want to get the wheels in motion and get the muscle memory active.”
With the OTAs being voluntary and many of the Vikings starters being established veterans, I asked Williams what drives some of the veterans to be here anyway.
“I think being successful last year has a lot to do with it,” he said. “I think people have the itch to get going again. I guess I won’t speak for anyone else, but I will speak for myself and say I’m anxious to get going again and work towards our team goals.”
I’ll be back soon with more observations from OTA #5 so be sure to stay tuned to vikings.com…
Tags: Kevin Williams
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The Vikings will resume OTAs this afternoon with their 5th such session, which is schedule to being around 12:45 p.m. CT on the outdoor practice fields at Winter Park. Today’s work will be closed to the media again, so be sure to keep checking vikings.com for coverage.
I have a sneaking suspicion that today’s OTA will include a few veterans who weren’t here last week. I’ll check on that once practice begins and then report back to you following the team’s workout.
Other than that, there’s no new news for now. Check back this afternoon for OTA observations, and feel free to leave comments below indicating what you’d like to know about the squad as they go through this week’s OTAs.
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This week’s Monday Morning Mailbag is posted. You can read it by clicking here.
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