Often times I mention weather conditions in the OTA observations and it’s not because I’m a native Minnesotan – weather seems to be a common conversation topic in our great state. The weather is a relevant factor because these OTA sessions are as much about teaching/learning as they are skill sets and physical activity.
“There is a lot of teaching going on here,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday while meeting with reporters. “Coaches are being intentional about that. (There are) a lot of bright-eyed guys so we will have some good competitions at a number of positions.”
On Thursday, the Vikings practiced under ideal weather – and teaching – conditions as they completed OTA #11. Although these OTAs are non-contact exercises at all times, I’ve definitely sensed a pickup in the intensity and competitive environment as the OTA schedule has progressed. Thursday’s action, especially near the end of practice, was no exception and served as a prime example of the good competitions Childress referenced on Wednesday.
Let’s go over a few observations/highlights from Thursday’s practice…
– S Husain Abdullah tallied an INT during the first team portion of practice, picking off a Sage Rosenfels pass near the sideline.
– Childress mentioned during Wednesday’s press conference that the team is working a lot on situational football, and they did so again on Thursday. I noticed during both team drills and 7-on-7 work that 3rd downs, red zone and zero-blitz/zero-pressure scenarios were presented.
– The best offensive play of the day came during 7-on-7 work, when Tarvaris Jackson floated a pass in the back right corner of the endzone for TE Visanthe Shiancoe. LB Heath Farwell was in on the coverage and actually was in a great position, but Shiancoe jumped and got both hands on the ball. My view of the ground was blocked, so I could tell if the TE got both feet in bounds. Farwell came away from the play waving his arms as if to say “incomplete” but Shiancoe had both hands in the air to say “touchdown.”
– Rookie 6th round QB Joe Webb got in on the action with a sharp throw to RB Darius Reynaud on 3rd and goal from the 8.
– The best part of practice came on the final 3 plays, where it was offense vs. defense inside the 10-yardline. Jackson hit Shiancoe on a quick slant for a score and then the QB followed that effort up with another TD on a quick slant to WR Jaymar Johnson. On the final play, though, Leslie Frazier’s defense came with a blitz and forced an incompletion. Jackson called an alert and made an adjustment to the play. S Jamarca Sanford came on the blitz and Jackson’s pass was batted down by a wall of defensive linemen.
– Childress hosted a contingent of Minnesota high school football coaches at practice, something he’s done in the past as he continues to cultivate a relationship with members from every level of football in the state.
– Mike Grant, the son of former Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant, heads a group of students from Eden Prairie High School called The Brotherhood. The group meets weekly and is comprised of primarily black, male student athletes who have committed to improving themselves both academically and personally.
The students were able to watch Thursday’s practice from the sidelines and then were joined by several members of the organization following practice. Along with a big group of players, individuals who visited with Grant’s group included Childress, Frazier, VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and WRs coach George Stewart.
Tags: George Stewart, Heath Farwell, Husain Abdullah, Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman, Visanthe Shiancoe
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