The Vikings concluded their mandatory minicamp this weekend with a 4th and final practice on Sunday morning, working out for just over an hour under cloudy skies and moderate temperatures.
Practice format for Sunday looked similar to that of Friday and Saturday, though I did notice some red zone work being done. As has been widely-reported, Tarvaris Jackson took reps with the 1st team and rookie Joe Webb took many of the 2nd team reps. But following practice, Head Coach Brad Childress said not to read too much into the QB rotation at this point because the team is trying to split up reps to expose young players to as much as possible as they try to immerse themselves in the Vikings offense.
Speaking of Childress, he addressed the media following practice and vikings.com was there to cover it. We’ll have video of that press conference available in on-demand format later today so be sure to check back.
Also important to note was that RBs Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson were not at practice today.
Several players were stopped by reporters following practice and I tried to poke my head into as many interviews as I could. Here’s what I heard…
– Jackson was asked about his improvement from the 2009 season and he explained that the biggest improvement he’s made has been a mental standpoint and a focus standpoint. Perhaps Jackson learned from fellow QB Brett Favre during last season, but I also think Jackson is naturally progressing as a QB in this league. He has the desire to succeed and I characterize him as a player who works at improving his craft.
Jackson also said he thinks he’s grown more during this offseason than he has during any other point in his career.
– LB Jasper Brinkley spoke with reporters about his progress through the offseason as well. Brinkley was a solid contributor to the Vikings special teams unit for the first 12 weeks of last season and then was inserted into the starting lineup when middle LB E.J. Henderson went down with a season-ending leg injury. Brinkley performed admirably in Henderson’s stead and it appears the Vikings will be comfortable with the 2nd year player in Henderson’s spot until the defensive captain can return to the lineup. One particular area Brinkley acknowledged he was focusing on was pass coverage, where he is concentrating on rotating his hips better and matching up route combinations with splits between receivers.
– CB Lito Sheppard said he noticed a sense of high expectation amongst the Vikings as they come off a season in which they advanced to the NFC Championship Game. It was an interesting observation from Sheppard because the Vikings new CB is also coming off a loss in a conference championship game. He was with the Jets in 2009 and the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jets in the AFC title game.
– Many Vikings players and both Childress and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier spent several minutes after practice visiting with and signing autographs for members of the 932nd Medical Squadron out of Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois. The squadron was lead by Master Sergeant Mike Taylor and also includes TSgt Gilmore, SSgt Jackson and Sr. Airman Wissman. The 932nd is in town on a 2-week tour at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.
Tags: Jasper Brinkley, Leslie Frazier, Lito Sheppard
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