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E.J.’s Status For Sunday Night Still Unknown

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 19, 2010 – 3:56 pm

All indications are that LB E.J. Henderson’s comeback from last season’s leg injury has gone well. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress has commented more than once that Henderson was aggressive in his rehab and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has seemed optimistic about his starting MLB.

But even with the positivity and optimism regarding Henderson’s rehab and comeback, the veteran didn’t play in last weekend’s preseason game. While last weekend was likely a precautionary move, Henderson can take the next step in his recovery by suiting up this preseason. The decision on whether or not that happens has not yet been made, according to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

“We don’t know,” Frazier said on Thursday when asked if Henderson will play on Sunday. “We are still practicing and seeing how he progresses every day and every play, and we will talk about it again tomorrow after practice.”

Here are a few more thoughts from Frazier’s Thursday press conference…

On how Erin Henderson looked playing middle LB last weekend: “He has done a good job in practice and we were wondering how he would do under the lights and he did a great job. We were all pleasantly surprised and pleased that he played as well as he did. He was thrust into that role with the injuries that we had with J Leman, and of course with E.J.’s situation and he did well, he did really well.”

On Percy Harvin experiencing a migraine episode during practice and being taken away by ambulance: “Everybody came together afterwards and prayed for Percy and just hoped for the best. But it definitely shakes you up, as a player and a coach…I have been in some situations where the ambulance had to come on the field and it’s never a good sight. We just hope for the best.”


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Frazier Pleased With Depth On Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 19, 2010 – 3:43 pm

Assuming both CB Cedric Griffin and LB E.J. Henderson make it back to the starting lineup (things are looking that way at this point), the Vikings will return all 11 starters from last year’s defense. With that being the case, the team entered the 2010 season in good position to fortify its depth behind experienced starters.

And so far, according to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the team has taken advantage of that good position.

“Yeah, this is the best depth we have had on defense so far,” Frazier said on Thursday after practice. “Now it is just a matter of staying healthy and playing together. But by far this is the best depth we have had. Although, we are missing Cedric Griffin [and] we are not certain about E.J. Henderson. But we do have some quality guys at some certain positions as back-ups.”

Last year the Vikings defense led the NFL in sacks with 48, finished #2 against the run and ranked #6 overall. With all starters returning and depth improving across the board, the Vikings defense will look to build upon and improve those numbers in 2010.

Frazier declined to be specific when asked what areas of his defense he’d like to see improve.

“I want us to improve in all categories,” Frazier said. “Because I really believe that if we took another step as a unit it would help us get another step closer to a championship. Let’s just get better all the way across the board and then we will look back at the end of the year and just see if that indeed helped us take that next step as a team, which will help our defense as well.”


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Childress Addresses Harvin Situation

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 19, 2010 – 12:22 pm

During practice late Thursday morning Vikings WR Percy Harvin experienced an apparent migraine episode, forcing the team to suspend the workout momentarily. Harvin was being attended to by the Vikings medical staff and eventually an ambulance arrived to take him to a local hospital.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress gathered his team and then the squad executed one more period before ending the workout.

After practice, both Head Coach Brad Childress and Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier addressed the issue, and you can view both of those press conferences by clicking the links below.

Childress Presser – 8/19

Frazier Presser – 8/19


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Who Will Step Up To Round Out WR Depth?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 19, 2010 – 8:20 am

With all of the hoopla surrounding QB Brett Favre and his decision to return for another season in 2010, it’s easy to forget there is actually a training camp and preseason going on at Winter Park. And with training camp and preseason come position battles.

There are several position battles still on-going for the Vikings, and that will continue to be the case for the next couple weeks. Of course the highest-profile position battle will be for the backup QB job, which Tarvaris Jackson is currently leading. But another one that also got a bit more interesting over the last couple of days is WR.

The Vikings have a healthy crop of young receivers battling to round out the position. That group included 3rd-year player Jaymar Johnson, who had a good training camp and then registered 2 receptions for 38 yards against the St. Louis Rams last weekend in the team’s 1st preseason game. But Johnson also suffered an injury in that game and has been waived by the club.

It’s an unfortunate development for Johnson and the Vikings, but it also opens an opportunity for those who were battling with Johnson for a roster spot. One player to keep an eye on in this regard is former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Logan Payne, who was acquired by the Vikings this past offseason and also had a nice training camp.

Payne showed up in a big way against the Rams, hauling in 7 receptions for 52 yards, including a 2-yard TD from Sage Rosenfels in the 2nd quarter.

“He is a good, smart football player,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said of Payne on Monday. “He is a tough guy, did well in special teams (against St. Louis), he ran down and made a couple special team tackles. He is versed in this system, he played multiple positions and he was productive. He has been making the most of all of the reps that he has gotten.”

Payne isn’t the only WR who has a chance to step up. The Vikings have a host of others in the fold, including Marko Mitchell (72-yard TD reception against the Rams) and Ray Small (3 receptions for 31 yards against the Rams). Another factor to keep in mind in handicapping this position battle is the return game. While Payne can increase his stock by covering kicks, a guy like Small can increase his chances by standing out as a kickoff or punt returner. Johnson had 2 punt returns and 1 kickoff return against the Rams, so someone else on the WR depth chart might be able to assume those responsibilities.

With all of that said, the Vikings could also look to add another young receiver or veteran receiver to the mix as well. There are several more chapters left to unfold before the Vikings make any decisions on this position battle, and the next one will happen on Sunday night when the Purple takes the field against the San Francisco 49ers.

Let us know in the comments section below which of the Vikings receivers you’d like to see step up and earn a roster spot.


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Favre Practices, Then Meets With Press

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 18, 2010 – 2:28 pm

Not even a full day into his return to Minnesota from Mississippi, Vikings QB Brett Favre was on the practice fields at Winter Park working with his teammates. The team worked for approximately 2 hours under cloudy skies and cool conditions and then both Favre and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress met with reporters in the Winter Park field house.

We won’t go into too much detail about what was said during the press conferences because you will be able to watch them in on-demand format soon right here on vikings.com. But here are a few highlights…

– The biggest talking point to come out of the press conferences might be the fact that Favre declared the 2010 season, his 20th in the NFL, will be his last. Of course we’ve heard Favre say this in the past only to return for another season, but the sense I got is that this truly will be his final year. Childress was asked if he believed this would be the QBs last year and the head coach agreed that it would be.

– Favre described the decision of whether or not to come back for the 2010 season as tough and said he can make a case either way. He cited his relationship with his teammates as a major factor in deciding to return. The QB went on to say that his teammates know “he’s got their back” and he thinks his teammates have his back, too.

– A biceps injury hindered Favre at the end of the 2008 season, when he was with the New York Jets. Offseason surgery fixed the issue and Favre said on Wednesday that his arm felt like it was 21 years old again during the 2009 season. But Favre described his ankle surgery quite differently, saying he thought it would’ve felt better than it does. Ultimately, though, Favre said that nothing on his body is 100% but he has nothing to complain about after starting 309 straight regular season and postseason games.

– Favre said the mental toll from 19 complete seasons in the NFL is as tough to deal with as the physical toll.

– Favre said he would like to play on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers, but Childress hasn’t decided whether or not that will happen. Asked how the QB looked in his 1st practice back with the team, Childress said Favre looked comfortable.


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Favre Will Practice Wednesday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 18, 2010 – 9:17 am

QB Brett Favre will be on the field Wednesday practicing with his teammates. Practice is scheduled to begin around 11:40 a.m. and should last for approximately 2 hours.

Both Favre and Head Coach Brad Childress will hold press conferences after practice and they’ll be streamed live on vikings.com.

Also, be sure to check out vikings.com during practice because we’ll post a photo gallery.


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So…Now What?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 18, 2010 – 6:48 am

QB Brett Favre has re-joined his teammates at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, but there are still a few hoops to jump through before the future Hall of Famer is officially back in the fold and ready to go. So what’s next? Let’s take a quick look at how things should unfold on Wednesday…

The remaining hoops to jump through likely include contract details, roster maintenance and a physical. Once those issues are addressed and if there are no unexpected developments, Favre could potentially participate in his 1st practice of the 2010 season. The Vikings are scheduled to practice for 2 hours late Wednesday morning and it wouldn’t be shocking to see #4 out with his teammates.

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress will meet with reporters following practice; that press conference will be streamed live on vikings.com. If Favre is able to participate in practice on Wednesday, he might also meet with reporters. The Vikings issued a press release late Tuesday notifying the media of Childress’ availability following practice and also stating that Favre’s availability was TBD. It’ll be interesting to hear what Childress – and potentially Favre – have to say about Tuesday’s developments, from the idea of sending 3 veteran players down to Mississippi to what finally factored into the QB’s decision to decide.

After all of that, it’ll be business as usual for Favre and the Vikings as the team will continue preparations for Sunday night’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. Another burning question today will be about Favre’s status for Sunday night. Will he play? We’ll hear officially from Childress later today, but my guess is that he’ll suit up and play a series before giving way to Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels and potentially Joe Webb.


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Brett Back At Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 17, 2010 – 3:10 pm

In a scene nearly identical to what transpired a year ago today, Vikings QB Brett Favre has arrived at Winter Park after an offseason of contemplation on whether he would return for another season of football.

Reports surfaced earlier this morning that 3 of Favre’s teammates – DE Jared Allen, G Steve Hutchinson and K Ryan Longwell – had flown down to Mississippi to speak with the QB. By the time practice had concluded late Tuesday morning, word had spread that the quartet of Vikings were on their way to Minnesota.

The plane carrying the 4 players landed in Eden Prairie around 4:00 p.m. CT and then the group hopped into a car and drove to Winter Park, arriving to a throng of media and fans just as Favre had done a year ago.

No word yet on a press conference, but stay tuned to vikings.com for updates and more information.


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Report: Favre On Plane “Headed North”

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on August 17, 2010 – 1:45 pm

According to a report by NFL Network, Vikings QB Brett Favre has boarded a plane and is “headed north,” presumably to the Twin Cities.

The Star Tribune’s Judd Zulgad reported earlier today that 3 veteran Vikings players — Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson, and Ryan Longwell — flew to Mississippi to meet with Favre within the last 24 hours.

The Vikings have yet to comment on either report.


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Harvin In Good Form; Favre Situation Looms

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 17, 2010 – 1:35 pm

While we’re waiting for the next set of developments in the Brett Favre story, let’s go over a few observations I had from this morning’s practice…

– The Vikings practiced for nearly 2 hours late this morning on the outdoor practice fields at Winter Park under clear skies and moderate temperatures. It was a great working and teaching environment as the Vikings installed parts of their game plan for Sunday night’s preseason contest against the San Francisco 49ers. It looked like the team was working on some backed up situations and also red zone scenarios.

– If WR Percy Harvin is feeling any ill-effects from his time away from the team, it certainly isn’t reflected in his practice performance. Harvin was the offensive player of the day, hauling in 3 impressive catches deep down the right sideline during the workout. The 3rd grab was the most impressive and it came over CB Asher Allen during 11-on-11 work; Harvin made a play on the ball even though Allen had great coverage and #12 came down with the catch in the endzone.

– In order for Harvin to make those catches, though, a QB has to put the ball on him. Or at least near him. And that’s what Tarvaris Jackson was doing on Tuesday. He looked good on the TD pass to Harvin and then turned around on the next play and hit Taye Biddle in nearly the same spot over CB Antoine Winfield.

– It’s clear that several position battles still hang in the balance, as the Vikings coaching staff is rotating several players in and out of spots all over the depth chart. S Jamarca Sanford worked with the 1st team at times on Tuesday, as did CB Lito Sheppard. RB Toby Gerhart was with the 2nd team in a large portion of the practice and then there were several players rotating along the defensive and offensive lines. It’s important not to read too much into one practice or even one game in terms of position battles. Coaches and scouts will look at the entire body of work throughout the offseason and preseason to determine spots on the depth chart.

– I watched all of the 1-on-1 pass rush drill and came away with a few interesting notes. DT Letroy Guion and G Adrian Battles had 2 good reps against each other, with both of them winning 1 time. DE Brian Robison put effective outside-in moves on Patrick Brown over consecutive plays. DT Jimmy Kennedy had the most-sudden pass rush move as he bull-rushed Battles. Rookie DE Everson Griffen ended the drill by rushing past Brown on consecutive plays.


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