It was announced on Monday that NFL Network analyst and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock has been named the new TV analyst for Notre Dame football. Mayock replaces Pay Haden, who left the gig to be the University of Southern California Athletic Director, and will join play-by-play man Tom Hammond in the Notre Dame booth.
Mayock was in Mankato at Vikings training camp on Monday with his Vikings preseason play-by-play partner Ari Wolfe when the news broke and he received many congratulatory handshakes and pats on the back. I had dinner with Mayock, Ari and my boss on Monday evening and I can tell you Mayock is excited about the gig.
“As the son of a coach and someone who has been around football my entire life, my favorite part of sports television has always been broadcasting games,” Mayock is quoted as saying in a news release. “The fact that I will now provide commentary on one of the most historically important teams in the history of college football on NBC Sports makes me about as happy as I can be as a sports broadcaster.”
Mayock’s first assignment will be on September 4 when the Irish play the Purdue Boilermakers.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »
Having stand-out defensive players such as LB E.J. Henderson, DE Jared Allen and CB Antoine Winfield on the field for the Vikings often causes the center of attention to focus on said players. With that in mind, the Purple’s young crop of safeties is determined to make sure that they will not be overlooked and maybe even have some of the limelight focused on them.
Even with much of the focus on the secondary centered on newly-acquired CB Lito Sheppard and rookie Chris Cook, this group of safeties has made their presence known throughout the first 4 days of training camp.
Seven-year veteran Madieu Williams youngsters Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford have found themselves practicing with the 1st-team defense for the majority of camp while 3rd-year S Husain Abdullah has rotated often with the 1st and 2nd units. Both Williams and Sanford made a number of defensive stops during Monday afternoon’s practice. Many of those stops occurred during 7-on-7 drills, which heavily favor the offense since there is no pass rush on the QB and a plethora of receivers to choose from.
Williams signed with the Vikings prior to the 2008 season and has been a regular starter when healthy, leading Vikings DBs and ranking 4th on the team with 76 tackles in 2009. Johnson started all 15 games in which he played during the 2009 season, his 2nd in the league, and Sanford has only 1 career start to his name but continues to play well both on defense and special teams.
Williams, Johnson and Sanford appear to be the front-runners in earning a starting role at S, but I wouldn’t count out any of the other 4 safeties on the roster – Husain Abdullah, Colt Anderson, Eric Frampton and rookie Terrell Skinner – as all of them have shown flashes of great defensive play throughout training camp.
I didn’t get a chance to catch up with any of the safeties today but I’ll keep tabs on them tomorrow and hopefully get a view words after Tuesday’s practice, so stay tuned right here on vikings.com.
Tags: Jamarca Sanford, Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 5 Comments »
My radio appearance with buddy Paul Allen of AM 1130 KFAN was postponed today, which allowed me to see every minute of Monday morning’s 2 hour and 15-minute practice, which was executed in mild temperatures compared to Sunday’s suffocating heat. The Vikings took full advantage of the ideal conditions – including a nice cloud cover to give us a break from the sun – and had an intense workout in front of another solid crowd.
A few players were missing from practice today for various reasons, including: WR Percy Harvin (personal), CB Benny Sapp (illness), WR Sidney Rice (PUP), CB Cedric Griffin (PUP) and C John Sullivan (leg). The leg injury to Sullivan does not seem serious and the 3rd-year C was on the field watching practice, so that’s a good sign.
While those players weren’t able to take part in practice, there were several special guests on-hand to take in the workout. Vikings ownership is in town for their annual training camp retreat, where they discuss the state of the franchise. I saw former Vikings QB Rich Gannon just outside the locker room; he’s an occasional visitor to the Vikings and seems to have developed a friendship with Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress. Also, Vikings preseason play-by-play man Ari Wolfe was at practice, so it was nice to chat with him for several minutes.
And finally, before I head to the cafeteria for lunch, a few football notes from this morning’s practice…
– With 2 of the top 3 WRs out, Greg Lewis and Jaymar Johnson handled the 1st-team reps with regular starter Bernard Berrian.
– WRs led a spirited session of 1-on1s and 7-on-7 drills. Johnson, Logan Payne and Ray Small all registered highlight-caliber catches that caused the crowd to cheer.
– With Sullivan out of the mix this morning, Jon Cooper took the snaps with the 1st-team. Ryan Cook took the 2nd-team snaps at C, and Chris Clark, Chris DeGeare, Thomas Austin and Drew Radovich joined Cook with the 2nd team for a large part of practice.
That’s it for now, but be sure to check back later for more updates and a couple of video interviews.
Tags: Greg Lewis, Jaymar Johnson, John Sullivan, Jon Cooper
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 17 Comments »
With an extended amount of time spent on 7-on-7 drills Sunday afternoon, rookie CB Chris Cook was able to make a number of impressive defensive stops, including 3 INTs.
Cook, who recorded 7 INTs during his career at Virginia (4 INTs his senior year), proved during Sunday afternoon’s practice that he is well-equipped to nab an INT at the pro level by pulling in 2 INTs off the throws of Sage Rosenfels and 1 from rookie QB Joe Webb.
The 1 pick that I saw up close and personal – and likely the most impressive of the day – had rookie WR Taye Biddle running a fade route from the 10-yard line into the left corner of the end zone. On the throw from Rosenfels, Cook got turned around by a quick move from Biddle but was able to adjust in time to make a leaping grab for the INT in the back of the end zone and then ran 107 yards down the left sideline to finish the play.
“He has made a variety of different plays down the field,” Head Coach Brad Childress said of Cook during the post practice press conference. “A lot of the time they say defensive backs are wide receivers that couldn’t catch. He can catch, which is important because those are turnovers going the other way. You are seeing the length show up with his size, his reach and for being a tall guy he’s got a pretty good drive. I think he’ll continue to keep on developing.”
Childress also felt that Cook’s size (6-2, 212 pounds) will be an advantage, especially in the red zone where teams like to throw the fade route, which was the scenario in Sunday afternoon’s practice when Cook picked off Rosenfels in the end zone.
“When you throw to spots sometimes those smaller defensive players can’t get to those spots just by virtue of their foot speed and their height,” Childress said. “He [Cook] is making some plays on some balls that are thrown in pretty decent spots.”
With the addition of veteran CB Lito Sheppard and already having 12-year veteran Antoine Winfield on the roster, Cook is blessed to have a pair of CBs who have been in the league for so long and will be able to learn from 2 of the premier CBs in the NFL.
“Chris is making great strides,” Sheppard said. “He’s making a lot of plays on the ball when given the opportunity. It’s just about him getting the feel for the game and slowing it down.”
Tags: Chris Cook, Lito Sheppard
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 14 Comments »