Head injuries, and specifically concussions, have been pushed to the forefront of the NFL recently due to higher profile players suffering such injuries and because of the increased interest Congress has taken on the matter.
Increased awareness of the concussion issue by Congress, the League offices and the public will hopefully begin to curb the number of serious head injuries suffered by athletes in the NFL and also across the country in other sports and at other levels, such as college and high school athletics.
But there’s a more effective way to prevent serious head injuries and the Vikings are one entity on top of the game.
Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com recently penned an article that addresses the concussion issue and how some, including Vikings Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Tom Kanavy, are ahead of the game.
Click here to read more about it.
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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.
Do you have a comment/question for the Monday Morning Mailbag? If you do, send it via email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to include your name and town on the emails.
We can’t post every comment/question that is submitted, but we’ll post as many as we can and we’ll answer every question.
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According to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Vikings QB Brett Favre underwent surgery on his left ankle earlier today at the Andrews Clinic in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure on the ankle which was injured during the Vikings NFC Championship game loss to the New Orleans Saints last January.
Per the report, Favre had scar tissue and other elements of the joint cleaned up to give him a better range of motion. The report also states that the rehab time is estimated to be four-to-six weeks.
Favre told ESPN’s Ed Werder in late April that if he were to return to the Vikings in 2010, he would need to have this procedure done, so this certainly bodes well for fans wanting to see No. 4 in purple again this fall.
UPDATE – Favre confirmed the news on his website tonight:
This is to confirm that I did have a procedure to remove some scar tissue and bone spurs from my ankle which had been bothering me for a period of time. I appreciate your concerns.
– Brett Favre
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KFAN’s Paul Allen, who of course is also the voice of the Vikings, was recently at Winter Park and caught up with Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach Leslie Frazer, DE Brian Robison and rookie QB Joe Webb. Allen chatted with each for several minutes as the trio is participating in Organized Team Activities, which concluded for this week on Friday.
Click the links below to watch each interview:
Tags: Brian Robison, Joe Webb, Leslie Frazier
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The Vikings wrapped up their 1st set of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) with another 90-minute workout at Winter Park on Friday. After 3 consecutive days of ideal weather this week, the Vikings were forced inside for OTA #4 because of rain earlier in the morning.
We often times make mention of the weather conditions when reporting on OTAs and I’m sure often times that information is overlooked. But the weather is actually an important factor in these practices. Coaches prefer to be outside as opposed to inside the field house because the outdoor practice fields provide more space. And conditions that include calm winds and moderate-to-warm temperatures are ideal because it makes communication much easier. Just as a teacher in a classroom tries to create a productive atmosphere, football coaches thrive in favorable teaching conditions as well.
Anyway, on to the observations from Friday’s practice. On Thursday the observations were exclusive to the defense, so Friday’s OTA observations will be exclusive to the offense.
– The offense was focusing on 3rd down, goal line and red zone scenarios.
– It was interesting to watch the OL work today as they spent time on blocking stunts. OL coaches Pat Morris and Jim Hueber had their group focus not on physically blocking the stunts (remember there is no contact permitted during these OTAs), but rather they had the young linemen learning to see where the stunts were coming from and then how to react to what they saw.
– The play of the day in my eyes came during offense vs. defense red zone work, when WR Jaymar Johnson stretched out to grab a Tarvaris Jackson pass deep in the endzone. After Johnson secured the ball and got both feet in bounds, his momentum carried him further and caused him to crash into the padding the lines the walls of the field house. The throw was perfect from Jackson because it was either going to be caught or fly out of bounds (no chance for an INT) and the catch from Johnson required supreme concentration and body control, especially because it was obvious he was quickly running out of room and would crash into the padded structure.
– We mentioned earlier on Friday that the Vikings added WR Logan Payne to the roster. Payne will wear jersey #84 and TE Mickey Shuler will switch from #84 to jersey #82.
– It was good to see a familiar face as a guest at practice. Former Vikings Head Coach and offensive coordinator Jerry Burns was hanging out on the sidelines during practice and even had a chance to chat with Brad Childress following practice.
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Forced to move indoors because of rain earlier this morning, the Vikings worked for approximately 90 minutes in the Winter Park field house and completed OTA #4. On-field work is done for the week and the team will be back at it with 4 more OTAs next week.
We’ll have a few (offense exclusive) observations from today in a bit, so be sure to stay tuned to vikings.com for complete OTA coverage of the Purple.
Also, in case you missed it, our buddy Chip Scoggins posted an update on the Williams Wall situation earlier today. Scoggins writes that a Hennepin County judge has ruled that Kevin Williams and Pat Williams will be able to play for the Vikings if they appeal their 4-game suspension, but he also notes that the question now is, how long will the appeals process take? Will it be resolved before the season or drag on for many more months?
OTA #4 observations are coming shortly.
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The Vikings added former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers WR Logan Payne to their roster. To make room for Payne, the Vikings waived WR Kelton Tindal.
Payne, who measures in at 6-2, 205 pounds, played in 46 career games for the Gophers, catching 97 passes for 1,344 yards and 11 TDs. He went undrafted in 2007 but was signed by the Seattle Seahawks that year. He’s also spent time with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs.
OTA #4 is set to begin in a few minutes and I’ll be back this afternoon with offense exclusive observations from today’s action.
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