With oppressively humid conditions lingering throughout this Tuesday afternoon’s practice, the Vikings were able to complete Day 5 of training camp without any hiccups. As promised, I kept a close eye on the young core of safeties and each individual looked solid once again during 7-on-7 and team drills.
Just as the case was throughout the first 4 days of camp, 7-year veteran Madieu Williams along with youngsters Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford found most of their time with the 1st team defense by rotating with each other often.
The big play of the day for the group of safeties occurred during 7-on-7 drills. First-year WR Logan Payne ran a deep post route down the middle of the field with CB Antoine Winfield covering the right side of the field. On the deep pass from QB Sage Rosenfels, Payne made his way into Johnson’s zone, but Johnson was able to outrun Payne on the over-thrown pass to make an impressive over-the-shoulder catch for the INT. Even though the play was whistled dead half way through, both Johnson and Payne made an effort on the football with Johnson hauling in the INT.
Once practice was over, Johnson and 4-year veteran Eric Frampton stayed late to get in extra reps on various coverage moves. Staying after practice has been a common occurrence for many of the safeties over the first 5 days of training camp and is a testament to their goals of improving.
After speaking with Johnson on his way to the locker room, the 3rd-year S out of Arkansas State felt that the Vikings secondary, especially the group of safeties, has great depth and experience.
“The more depth, the more things you can do,” Johnson said. “A lot of good players out there. One person go down, another can fill in and be just as good with no drop off.”
In regard to his own play, Johnson credited veteran Williams and former Vikings S Darren Sharper for offering advise to help improve his game over the past 3 years.
“One thing I picked up from Madieu is to be a student of the game,” Johnson said. “I also learned a lot of cover skills from Madieu because of his quickness. Sharp [Darren Sharper], he was a wise, savvy guy. I picked that up from him.”
Defensive Backs Coach Joe Woods was also given credit by Johnson to help him understand the game and progress in the league.
“Just calm down and play football,” Johnson said of Woods’ advice. “Sometimes you worry about too much that’s going on around you, and what’s not going your way and what is going your way. Just reminds me to chill out and play football. Just control what you can control and go out and do your best.”
Tags: Jamarca Sanford, Joe Woods, Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 10 Comments »
Mankato, MN became the epicenter of the NFL on Tuesday with reports that Vikings QB Brett Favre has informed team officials that he intends to retire. There’s been no confirmation of this report from the Vikings and head coach Brad Childress explained to reporters during his post-practice press conference that the situation remains fluid and that he hasn’t been informed by Favre of a decision.
After this afternoon’s practice – which was held in humid conditions and last just short of 2 hours – several players were asked of their reactions to these reports and they answered the questions similarly.
“He was definitely a big part of our offense,” RB Adrian Peterson said. “It’s hard to replace a guy like Favre. It’s hard. But our expectation still stays the same. Taking it one step at a time and getting back in the position we were in last year. NFC Championship game, winning it and grabbing it all. That’s not changing at all.”
And we won’t get on the spot, either, until something more substantial develops. In the meantime, CJ is working on a follow up story to his report on Monday about the Vikings safeties that will be posted shortly and we’ll be posting more video interviews of players.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 50 Comments »
Rumors and reports of QB Brett Favre’s decision to retire did not buzz kill the Vikings morning practice on Tuesday, as the squad was padded up for their first “live” periods of 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Head coach Brad Childress’ team worked on goal line and short-yardage situations and the action was intense.
“First extended work with pads on,” Childress said in his opening remarks after practice. “It’s amazing, as the players said, how the weather can turn hateful when we finally put the full pack on and pad them all the way up. A lot of good work and nobody got hurt. A lot to teach from over here and we’ll see (on film) which guys eyes got big and which guys showed up.”
After a rough first couple of days in training camp, the offense has really begun to sharpen up and the defense continues to perform consistently while also showing flashes of dominance. I spoke casually with assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier following practice and he was bright-eyed in talking about camp and his defense’s performance in general.
Here are a few of my observations from the morning practice as I tried to watch while also handling the developments with regard to Favre…
– C John Sullivan returned to the field after missing the last couple of days with a leg injury. CB Benny Sapp (illness) was not in action and I noticed rookie Chris DeGeare replaced Steve Hutchinson at LG several times; that’s likely just to give Hutchinson some rest as a precaution. Not much action for LB E.J. Henderson today and I also saw WR Sidney Rice working out on the side.
– The 2 biggest defensive hits of the day were registered by LBs Erin Henderson on RB Albert Young and Jasper Brinkley on RB Toby Gerhart.
– CB Chris Cook closed the morning practice with an INT return for a TD off of a tipped pass from QB Joe Webb to WR Marquis Hamilton.
– Childress specifically mentioned that Gerhart and Darius Reynaud showed up during the morning practice.
– As I indicated earlier, it was difficult to pay attention to every snap of this morning’s practice because of the Favre situation. But I did put my phone down for a good 20 minutes to watch live periods of short-yardage and goal line situations. Here’s a quick breakdown:
2 Defense vs. 2 Offense - The defense made 3 consecutive stops, with DT Tremaine Johnson and LB Kenny Onatolu making great plays. Johnson penetrated the offensive line with a quick push at the line of scrimmage and Onatolu leaped to deflect a pass in the endzone.
1 Offense vs. 1 Defense - The defense made stops on 2 of 3 snaps, with S Husain Abdullah making a nice play by knifing into the backfield and then an incomplete pass following that play. The offense’s win in the series came on the 1st play, when Gerhart powered his way into the endzone for a TD.
3 Offense vs. Mixed Defense – QB Joe Webb had a fumbled exchange on the 1st snap and then RB Ryan Moats pranced into the endzone for 2 TDs, giving the offense a 2-1 win in the series.
2 Defense vs. 1 Offense - The offense acquired a 1st down on 2 of the 3 snaps.
1 Defense vs. 2 Offense - The defense made stops on 2 of the 3 snaps.
3 Defense vs. 3 Offense - The offense acquired a 1st down on 2 of the 3 snaps.
Tags: Chris Cook, Erin Henderson, Husain Abdullah, Jasper Brinkley, Kenny Onatolu, Toby Gerhart, Tremaine Johnson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 9 Comments »
As you all know, reports are flying all over the place about Vikings QB Brett Favre potentially announcing his retirement. The fact of the matter is that Favre has yet to release a statement about his intentions and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress has not yet heard from Favre about his decision.
“I’m not a big hear-say person,” Childress said when questioned about the reports. “I’m a horse-say, I got to hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
Vikings K and long-time Favre teammate Ryan Longwell was on the same line of information that Childress spoke of that he has also not heard Favre mention anything about his retirement.
“Well I got a text from him, but no, he hasn’t mentioned anything like that [retirement],” Longwell said. “I told him about the free buffet at Pizza Ranch and he said he’d be on the next flight up, so I don’t know if that will turn him around to get up here sooner than later but he certainly didn’t say that he was ending it or retiring.”
Keep in mind that these reports have not yet been confirmed. Training camp will continue this afternoon with practice at 3:00 p.m. We will continue to keep you updated on any Favre reports along with Mike’s observations from the afternoon practice. I’ll be watching the safeties again and I’ll try to get a few words in from Tyrell Johnson, Jamarca Sanford or Madieu Williams, so keep it here on vikings.com.
Tags: Ryan Longwell
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 21 Comments »
Because I was out at practice on Tuesday morning I’m not sure who first reported it (ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says it was the Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad), but there are a myriad of reports saying Vikings QB Brett Favre has informed the team of his intent to retire. The development began to spread during the Vikings morning practice and continues to do so early this afternoon.
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress held is scheduled press conference following practice – which was streamed live here on vikings.com – and was obviously asked numerous questions about the reports and the QB. Childress acknowledged he’s become aware of the reports but also disclosed that Favre himself has not informed the head coach of a decision.
Childress later described the entire situation as fluid and explained that his team will be fine either way on Favre’s decision.
It’s hard to blame Childress for the way he’s handling the situation at this point. He has no control over Favre’s decision and either way he’ll be charged with leading the Vikings in 2010 as they look to defend back-to-back titles. It’s also wise of Childress not to draw any conclusions from these recent reports because, as he said, the situation is fluid, we haven’t heard directly from the QB himself and there’s always room for a change of mind.
So stay tuned on this one. Life will go on here on vikings.com.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 98 Comments »
With the 2010 season certainly upon us, it’s time once again for several Vikings-related things to roll back into action, including the television show “Vikings Weekly.” During the regular season, fans will have the chance to submit their questions for Head Coach Brad Childress to potentially answer on the show. During the preseason however, the Vikings 3 coordinators will get their crack at answering your submissions.
For the first episode, Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach Leslie Frazier will answer 1 fan question. So, if you have a question for Frazier, submit it via the comments section of this post, along with your first name and your hometown, and it could be answered on this week’s program.
Tags: Leslie Frazier
Posted in All | 25 Comments »
We should have an entertaining Tuesday of practices at 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said the team will practice with pads and have live periods during the morning as they work on goal line and short yardage situations. It’s always fun to watch the guys practice when the energy is ramped up.
The morning practice will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. and then the afternoon session will go from 3:00 p.m. to 4:55 p.m. With the live periods in the morning, be sure to check back here to the blog for post-practice updates and also remember to follow me on Twitter (@VikingsFootball) for some in-practice updates.
I’ll also be stopping by the KFAN tent to chat with our buddy Paul Allen, who will be hosting his 9-noon show again today from training camp.
That’s it for now, but be sure to check back later for more as training camp rolls on.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 1 Comment »
It’s been a busy 5 days of training camp for the Vikings on the field, but that hasn’t stopped the club from continuing its community initiatives off the field.
After Monday morning’s practice, the Vikings invited 60 local kids to enjoy a VIP viewing of Vikings training camp and share a healthy lunch with Vikings players as the team wrapped up the 2010 Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program, which was presented by Target. In addition, Second Harvest Heartland presented Vikings Owner Mark Wilf with a Hunger Hero Award, an award the organization initiated this spring to recognize its charitable partners who demonstrate an extraordinary effort to meet the unprecedented need for emergency food.
Several Vikings players, such as WR Bernard Berrian, P Chris Kluwe and RB Adrian Peterson, were also on-hand to interact with the kids.
The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provides free meals at pre-approved meal sites to hungry children during the summer, but participation in the program is extremely low. In fact, while approximately 293,000 Minnesota school children receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year, only about 20 percent of them receive meals during the summer.
The 2010 Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program, Presented by Target, is helping to provide up to 500,000 additional meals for hungry Minnesota children this summer through a $300,000 donation that has helped increase visibility of the Summer Food Service Program and meal sites around the state. ConAgra Foods pledged an additional $100,000 to the program to support current Summer Food Service Program sponsors and sites.
Last year, the Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program secured more than 200,000 additional summer meals for kids in need and this year the program is being supported by an innovative visibility campaign that has been recognized as a national model by the USDA.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chris Kluwe, Mark Wilf
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 1 Comment »