Notes From Wednesday Afternoon Special Teams Practice

Posted by cjsiewert on August 5, 2010 – 6:55 am

Wednesday afternoon’s practice was kept to just about an hour as the special teams unit got in its 1st “special teams only” practice of the 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Kickoff return specialist Percy Harvin did not participate in the special teams practice as he continues to handle personal matters, but Darius Reynaud – who returned 30 punts for 308 yards in 2009 – found himself returning a number of punts and kickoffs.

Special teams was an area the Vikings addressed during the offseason as they acquired kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd. Lloyd possesses the ability to pin the ball deep in opponent’s territory and has proven this skill with a league-leading 30 touchbacks in 2008 and another 21 in 2009 to rank 6th in the NFL.

To complement Lloyd in the punting game, P Chris Kluwe has provided consistency in the Vikings special teams unit over the past 5 seasons. The 6-year veteran had the top punting average of his career at 37.8 yards in 2009, including 24 punts of 50+ yards. A key component to Kluwe’s drive to improve his punting abilities consists of his directional kicking.

“I know a lot of guys use the Aussie rules, end-over-end kick,” Kluwe mentioned of directional punting. “For them it’s easier to control and put it down there, but I’ve always felt more comfortable with just trying to put it down in the corner. I think it’s something that I’ve gotten pretty good at and will continue to try and improve.”

As mentioned, the special teams practice lasted only for about an hour, so there really wasn’t a whole lot of action but here are a few notes from Wednesday afternoon’s practice…

– The 1st half of practice consisted of both the punt and punt return teams with Asher Allen, Taye Biddle, Jaymar Johnson, Reynaud, Lito Sheppard and Marcus Sherels returning punts.

– Rookie CB Chris Cook showcased his speed as an outside gunner on the punt team by consistently being the 1st man to reach the punt returner.

– Kluwe provided his ability to punt the ball well with impressive hang-time and distance. Kluwe consistently punted the ball around the area of 45 yards.

– The 2nd half of practice involved the kick return team with Johnson, Reynaud and Ray Small returning kicks.

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