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
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