Thursday Practice Schedule Changed

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 6:29 pm

The Vikings have announced that their practice schedule for Thursday, August 4 has been changed.

Originally the team was scheduled to practice from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in full pads and then have a walk-thru in the afternoon from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. That schedule has been changed to the following:

9:00-10:00 a.m. Walk-Through

3:00-5:30 p.m. Full Pads Practice

For fans attending 2011 Verizon Vikings Training Camp on Thursday, please note that the Northland Ford Dealers Autograph Zone will be open following the afternoon practice.

Village Times for tomorrow 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Timeline Of An NFL QB

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 2:18 pm

Critics of the Vikings decision to trade for QB Donovan McNabb questioned whether the 13-year veteran has enough left in the tank to be an effective player.

Well, it sounds like you can count offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as one who believes McNabb has the juice left to be a productive player, largely because he’ll be able to rely on experiences and lessons learned from past seasons to stay one step ahead of the game.

Musgrave held his first official press conference as Vikings offensive coordinator after the morning practice on Wednesday and at one point he laid out an interesting timeline as it relates to veteran QBs in the NFL.

“Donovan is entering into his mid-thirties and at times, quarterbacks really start to apply the lessons learned right when they approach their mid-thirties,” Musgrave explained. “It happened with Steve Young in the mid to late nineties. It happened with John Elway. We know it happened with Rich Gannon. But you take your lumps early on in your career and then you still have your legs underneath of you, you can still make plays in your late-twenties and early-thirties and then as you get to your mid-thirties you start to apply all of those lessons and play a little bit differently but sometimes the end result is must better than you ever anticipated.”

Remember, Musgrave’s perspective on the topic of veteran QBs is a good one because he was a backup to Joe Montana and Steve Young in San Francisco from 1991-94, where he worked under coaches Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak. And he was also a backup behind John Elway in Denver from 1995-96. So he clearly knows how successful veteran QBs operate.

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Musgrave Says Team Will Tailor Offense To Fit Players

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 1:29 pm

So often in the NFL we hear about teams acquiring players because they fit the defensive scheme or the offensive system. While that strategy certainly works in many places, it sounds like the Vikings will take the opposite approach when it comes to collecting offensive talent.

“We like to tailor make or customize our system to fit our players,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said, “so it’s not a system where we’re going to sit here and say Donovan didn’t fit or another player didn’t fit into our system. We’re going to customize it to really play to their strengths and I think you do that not only with the veteran guys, but also with the young guys, whether it be Christian (Ponder) or Donovan. We want to identify their traits that can help us win and then play to their strengths.”

There are two players who come to my mind when reading that quote from Musgrave – WR Percy Harvin and QB Joe Webb. Harvin is one of the best play-makers in the NFL and is coming off of two consecutive impressive seasons to open his career. He’ll be a focal point in Musgrave’s offense.

“I think we do,” Musgrave responded when asked if the team sees a go-to guy in the WR corps. “But again, that would mean we would need to tailor our offense around his (Harvin’s) strengths. He is not a big 6-1, 6-2 or 6-4 Randy Moss-type that’s going to win outside versus a corner all day long. We’re going to do a good job with Percy by moving him around, making defenses have a tough time identifying what his role is on that specific concept and then simply get the ball in his hands.

“The key is getting him his touches to let him do his thing.”

As for Webb, we’ve already explained that a new roster rule could allow the Vikings to utilize Webb’s talents on the field more often going forward. Judging by what Musgrave said on Wednesday, that’s precisely the plan.

“He is doing a nice job at quarterback now,” Musgrave explained. “We want him to focus on quarterback and not dilute his pot too much, but we know he can run, we know he can throw it eighty yards and we know he can make people miss. The new rules will enable us to kind of have a Joe Webb package that I can see in the future, too.

“If he proves to be one of our eleven best (offensive players) at times then we’ll get him on the field.”

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Intensity Picking Up At Training Camp; Notes From Practice #3

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 11:14 am

An offseason void of minicamps and OTAs and then rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits players with new contracts from practicing and also prohibits contact during the first few days of camp created an unusual environment at NFL training camps.

But things are starting to feel a bit more normal now after the Vikings strapped on shoulder pads and helmets for Practice #3.

The intensity rose a notch on Wednesday morning at 2011 Verizon Vikings Training Camp, as the team worked for roughtly two hours and 15 minutes on the outdoor practice fields under sunny skies and balmy temperatures. Vikings fans took advantage of the day, too, by packing both sets of bleachers and lining the fences surrounding the three practice fields.

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer both held press conferences following practice and we’ll have those in on-demand format for you to view, so stay tuned for that. Until then, here are a few notes from practice…

– My favorite drill to watch is the 9-on-7 drill, in which nine offensive players go against seven defensive players (four down linemen and three linebackers) in a drill that features only running plays. The drill is a full-contact drill that focuses on blocking for the offense and filling gaps on defense. LBs Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson looked the best in the drill.

– Another LB – Heath Farwell – got his hands on an INT. QB Joe Webb tried to force a pass into coverage and Farwell was there to take advantage of the miscue. Farwell was playing outside LB with the first team during some portions of practice.

– Catch of the day goes to WR Stephen Burton, who was drafted by the Vikings this past April in the 7th round. He went full extension and dove for a pass along the right sideline during a team drill. He was able to get his hands on the ball, secure it, go to the ground and maintain possession through the play.

– Passing the eye test today: Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin and Percy Harvin

– I’ll have more notes from the Musgrave and Priefer press conferences later. Stay tuned…

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Previewing Practices #3 And #4

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 7:07 am

There’s not a cloud in sight, the wind is calm and the temperature is pleasent in Mankato for Practice #3 and hopefully for Practice #4 at 2011 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. The Vikings will work for 2 hours, 30 minutes this morning in shoulder pads and helmets and then come back out in the afternoon for another 60-minute workout with no pads.

We’ll have updates for you all day long, so be sure to stay tuned to and the official Vikings Twitter feed (@VikingsFootball) for all the information. Also, you can follow me on Twitter (@wobby) and you can listen to me chat with Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen when I join him at 9:35 during his daily radio show on AM 1130 KFAN.

Also, Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will meet with reporters after practice, so tune in to that on to hear what they have to say about their new team just a couple days into training camp.

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