The rainy conditions subsided in time for the Vikings to work outside during OTA #10 and then host a group of Special Olympic Minnesota athletes at Winter Park on Wednesday. The Vikings went through a typical OTA practice and then several members of the team, including Head Coach Brad Childress, stayed after practice to visit with the SOM participants and take part in a Punt, Pass and Kick clinic.
Prior to the clinic and meet and greet, the SOM group watched OTA #10 from the sidelines, often times cheering after highlight-caliber play.
For now, here are a few highlights from Wednesday’s action at Winter Park…
– Rookie 4th round DE Everson Griffen was one of the most engaged players during the SOM event following practice. He signed autographs immediately after practice concluded, assisted the participants in the Kick portion of the clinic and then stayed after the SOM event to visit and pose in photos. We talked to Griffen after the SOM event and we’ll include his comments in the video recap of the event that will be posted later this afternoon.
– I spoke with Dave Dorn, President of Special Olympics Minnesota, during practice and he was once again thrilled to have the event at Winter Park after a practice. Dorn said commented that the Vikings have been a great partner throughout the years and that the Punt, Pass and Kick Clinic was an event that began with former Vikings FB Tony Richardson and has continued with the support of both Childress and superstar RB Adrian Peterson.
– Two highlight-caliber plays stuck out to me during practice. One was registered by LB Erin Henderson in the 2nd-to-last play of the inside skeleton drill. He jumped a pass in the middle of the field that was intended for TE Jeff Dugan and thrown by Sage Rosenfels. Henderson caught the pass smoothly and would’ve glided into the endzone for a TD. On the very next play, though, Rosenfels went back to Dugan at the very same spot and the duo completed the pass. The other highlight-caliber play came from QB Tarvaris Jackson and rookie 7th round TE Mickey Shuler. Jackson took a 5-step drop and rifled a pass to Shuler down the right seam. Shuler, who’s made some impressive catches during OTAs, hauled in the pass and continued down the field.
– Players were made available to the media following practice and one of the most popular interviews was WR Logan Payne, a former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher. Payne was signed this offseason after spending time with a few different NFL teams. A few interesting comments from Payne: 1) He said even as a guy whose made an NFL roster in the past, there isn’t much room for error for him and he’s making the most of this opportunity, 2) He had a few other teams interested in bringing him in this offseason but he took a look at the Vikings team and coaching staff and felt comfortable being with the Vikings, and 3) As he comes back from an injury, he feels as fast as he’s ever been during his career.
– While we’re on the topic of former Golden Gophers, I spent a few minutes after Tuesday’s practice with DL Cedric McKinley. He joined the Vikings this offseason as an undrafted rookie free agent and he told me that after playing mostly DE in college he’s been playing a lot of 3-technique here with the Vikings. He also went on to explain that he’s been watching a lot of Kevin Williams’ film and he’s also been impressed with the work ethic Williams has. “I’m having a great experience so far,” McKinley said, “and it’s really a blessing to be a part of this team right now.”
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Cedric McKinley, Erin Henderson, Everson Griffen, Jeff Dugan, Logan Payne, Mickey Shuler, Sage Rosenfels
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 2 Comments »
Using WRs such as the Vikings Sidney Rice and the Dallas Cowboys Miles Austin as examples of breakout players from 2009, NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan recently identified 20 players who are candidates in his mind to have a breakout season in 2010.
And he included another Vikings player in this year’s group.
Vikings S Tyrell Johnson, entering his 3rd season in the NFL, was on Kirwan’s list. Kirwan said Johnson is “still learning the pro game” after being selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Arkansas State. But he also said Johnson is an excellent athlete whose already faced a lot of pressure because opposing offenses attack the Vikings via the pass so often.
I found Kirwan’s inclusion of Johnson on this list particularly interesting because of the high volume of emails I’ve received lately from fans who want the Vikings to pursue unrestricted free agent (UFA) S O.J. Atogwe. So I took a more detailed look at the Vikings safety situation – click here to read it.
This entire issue is a good Vikings talker that sparks thoughtful debate and conversation. Fans, what do you think?
Tags: Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 26 Comments »