The Vikings conducted practice at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome on Thursday because head coach Brad Childress wanted his players to get a feel for the new playing surface that was installed this offseason. The old surface – FieldTurf – was replaced by Sportexe, a product produced by a Georgia-based company and also used by the Baltimore Ravens.
The new playing surface will see its 1st game action on Saturday, when the Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks in a game scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. CT. Speaking of the game, Childress disclosed that he anticipates his starters to play the entire 1st half and then 1 series into the 3rd quarter. Childress declined to specify what the playing order would be for the QBs following Favre’s departure from the game and he also said WR Percy Harvin, who has missed extended time this training camp and preseason, has not been cleared to play.
Earlier this morning I offered my thoughts on the Benny Sapp-for-Greg Camarillo trade. Today, Childress was asked to comment. Here’s what he said: “Love Benny. It’s hard to see him go. They (Miami) had a need and want and we had a need and a want. We were able to match those two things up. I don’t know that it speaks anything to how we feel about the other people yet, but obviously good enough to part with Benny. At the same time, we had a need that we felt like we needed to fill.”
Asked about his new receiver, Childress responded: “A receiver by definition should receive. He’s got A+ hands, so if you put a ball around him he’s got great pluck characteristics that he can pluck the ball out of the air and catch it in his hands.
On whether Camarillo is an inside or outside receiver: “He’s done both; he’s played outside, he’s played in the slot. We’ll have to start him slowly; we can’t put everything on his plate right away. We like for all our guys to be able to interchange.”
Also, I wasn’t able to attend this morning’s practice at Mall of America Field, and therefore I wasn’t able to catch up with Camarillo after his 1st Vikings practice to get his reaction to the trade. But the Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad did, and here’s what Camarillo had to say
“It was a crazy day,” Camarillo said when asked about what happened after he learned he had been traded on Wednesday. “I found out at 10 a.m. that it was time to leave my home and move to Minnesota. I’ve only been here for maybe 24 hours. But it’s home now. I’m excited. It’s a new opportunity with a great team.”
Tags: Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »
After disappointing news that WR Sidney Rice could be sideline for 8 weeks or even more after undergoing hip surgery earlier in the week, the Vikings weren’t reduced to licking their wounds or curling over in the fetal position. Instead, the team has aggressively addressed the problem by signing veteran Javon Walker and trading for 5th-year player Greg Camarillo.
Camarillo immediately bolsters the talent level and depth of the Vikings WR corps. The 6-1, 190-pound WR out of Stanford is a versatile player who can lineup in the slot or out wide. According to the website footballoutsiders, Camarillo was targeted 73 times in 2009 with 50 receptions and 0 drops. Camarillo, a smart player, has good but not great quickness and speed and he’s also been productive over the past 2 seasons, hauling in 105 catches in that time with an 11.1-yard per catch average.
Time will tell exactly how the Vikings use him, but by all appearances he seems to be a prototypical possession receiver – versatile with great hands and a history of producing. He’s a nice addition for the Vikings.
The addition of Camarillo comes at the expense of CB Benny Sapp, who had been with the club over the past 2 seasons and played well during his time with the Vikings. When CB Antoine Winfield was sidelined last season with a foot injury, it was Sapp who stepped in and played capably. In total, Sapp played in 30 games for the Vikings with 11 starts and tallied 59 tackles, 2 INTs and 2 forced fumbles in that time.
“Benny was a good player for us,” Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “He did a great job while he was here. He helped us out down the stretch a year ago. Wish him the best with his new team, wish him the best.”
But while the Vikings depth at WR was in question, depth at CB was not. And that’s why Sapp was dealt. Although starter Cedric Griffin is coming back from a knee injury, Winfield appears to be in top form and a trio of other CBs – Asher Allen, Chris Cook and Lito Sheppard – are vying for playing time. Sapp was by no means a front runner among the CB group and he actually missed extensive time during the early part of training camp due to dehydration.
No word yet on when Camarillo will join the Vikings or what jersey number he’ll wear. His contract runs through the 2011 season.
Tags: Benny Sapp, Greg Camarillo, Javon Walker, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 40 Comments »