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Emptying Out The Notebook Before First Full Pads Practice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 4, 2011 – 10:08 am

It’s another perfect day at 2011Verizon Vikings Training Camp on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Mankato. The Vikings wrapped up a morning walk-through at about 10:00 a.m. and now they’ll rest and recover before heading out for their first full pads practice at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Assuming a few issues with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement are worked out before this afternoon, the 3:00 p.m. practice today will be the first time players with new contracts can practice.

The Vikings had several special visitors at this morning’s walk-through, including U.S. Senator Al Franken (Minn.). Franken addressed the team after the walk-through and also spent some time with vikings.com. He talked a little Vikings history, touched on the stadium situation in Minnesota, gave his opinion on the acquisition of QB Donovan McNabb and gave us his outlook for the season. We’ll have the interview with Franken posted shortly.

Also visiting practice today was NFL referee Jeff Triplette and his crew. An NFL officials crew visits Vikings training camp each year to go over new rules with coaches, players and the media.

Let’s empty out the notebook before I start filling it up again at this afternoon’s practice. Here are a few topics I’ve made notes on but haven’t mentioned yet…

– There is a vacant starting position at outside LB on the Vikings defense and head coach Leslie Frazier has said that Erin Henderson is penciled in as the starter. But he’s one player under a new contract, which means he hasn’t been able to practice yet. In his place, Jasper Brinkley and Heath Farwell have taken reps with the first team. This will be a position to watch as training camp rolls on and as we get into the preseason.

– Staying with the defense, there is also competition for starting positions at safety. Husain Abdullah is a likely starter, but he is under a new contract and hasn’t been able to practice yet. Taking reps with the first team has been Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford. Also, don’t discount rookie Mistral Raymond as someone who could earn some playing time. Right now, I’d guess that Abdullah is a favorite to start and then the other starting spot will come down to Johnson and Sanford.

– This is a tough environment for coaches because many of their players have not been allowed to practice and because contact was prohibited in practice for the first three days of camp. Compounding the difficulty, of course, is the fact that the lockout wiped away all offseason practices, such as minicamps and OTAs. Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave spoke with reporters on Wednesday and I thought he gave an interesting explanation of what it’s been like for coaches around the NFL, particularly new coaches who are trying to get acclimated with their teams. Here is his quote:

“It’s unchartered territory. We’ve never been through anything like this whether as a coach or a player so we’ve tried to be smart and whittle down the volume we present to the players. We want to be difficult and diverse to defend on offense but at the same time we want to know what we’re doing. We also want to get these guys back in football shape and not just work hard mindlessly. We want to work smart. We’re bouncing all of those factors with our eye on September 11 down in San Diego. Fortunately we do have the month of August and we’ve planned as such I believe.”


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 39 Comments »


39 Responses to “Emptying Out The Notebook Before First Full Pads Practice”

  1. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings re-sign OL Ryan Cook

    http://www.twincities.com/vikings/ci_18611900

  2. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    I called that yesterday :)

    Cook has had played well at 4 of the 5 OL positions, and IMO was the best center we had last year …. wonder is he gets to steal a job at LT or C

    He even got some time at LT last year and even though it was brief IMO he played better than McKinnie

  3. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    and now Safety becomes our biggest weakness

  4. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike: A good report on the linebackers and safeties. Did you get a chance to sit in on the rules change meeting? If so, what are things we can look for in the coming year?

  5. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn: Who is available at safety who could still come in and help us?

  6. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Nice call Shawn.

    Having been a starter for the team for a while, I was pretty sure that Cook would go to another team that would be more likely to give him the chance to start again. He’s definitely a great backup player, but I still wonder if he has what it takes to earn a spot back on the starting squad. His main problem was that he was getting far too many false start penalties. This is a flaw that should be easy to fix, so we just might see him earn the position back. But even if we don’t, he’s an extremely versatile offensive lineman that will play a big role in solidfying the entire crew of blockers.

  7. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Does anyone have any predictions as to how Toby Gerhardt will play this season? I really thought the Redskins game was a break out game for him last season, but he didn’t have much of an impact down the stretch. I’m still hopeful he’ll play a valuable role for our team.

  8. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    I think that Toby really needs to work on his blocking skills, so he can be used as a 3rd down style back. Too often last year I cringed when Toby took the field because it was almost certainly a running play. Defenses knew this too, and so they were always quick to tackle him. If we can turn him into a respectable pass blocking HB, his value will shoot through the roof.

  9. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    wow S Donte Whitner from Buffalo is still available, doesnt look like a INT guy but a tackling machine

    http://www.nfl.com/player/dontewhitner/2495988/profile

    Atari Bigby is still available but hes only had 1 healthy season

  10. By Frederick Jones on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Arrow86,

    If we are a running team like Frazier has suggested, then Gerhart should get lots of reps backing up Peterson.

    Then again, are we going to use a fullback a lot?

    And if we get behind, we’ll have to abandon the run, and chuck it!!!

  11. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Madieu Williams found a home in San Francisco

  12. By Frederick Jones on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Arrow86,

    I haven’t see the Vikings use Gerhart much as a receiver. In addition to his blocking, that is also a factor in his playing time.

  13. By Woodboat on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Gerhart does need to learn to p@ss block, but then again, so does Peterson. He needs to be in on p@ss plays, as Parody suggested, just to give him a chance when he does get the ball. I remember when Hershall Walker played… the ONLY time he got in the game was to run it between the tackles… and he got trucked over and over again. I think that was Bud Grant coaching at the time… whomever it was it was bad form on his part.

    I don’t think Gerhart is ever going to be a top RB. AP is going to get most of the carries, and Gerhart just doesn’t have enough gears. He’s a 3 yards and a cloud of dust type RB, which is fine. We need that guy.

  14. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Compare Whitner to our own Tyrell Johnson ….

    http://www.nfl.com/player/tyrelljohnson/2676/careerstats

  15. By Woodboat on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    BTW… to whomever is the webmaster for this site… could you update the tags on the right side of the page? Having Childress’ name in bold print staring me in the face every time I log in is depressing. Bret Favre, Ray Edwards, Syd Rice… heck, even T Jack. Lets get this thing cleaned up and start this year off fresh.

  16. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Whitner and Johnson both 26 years old and who would you rather have ?

    Clearly Whitner is a far better Safety than Tyrell Johnson …. and only 26, whats the hold up?

  17. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Woodboat … Some of our best blogs are in that Childress link

  18. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Woodboat: I think Jerry Burns was the coach when Hershel was getting “TRUCKED”. Whiskey Wade Wilson was QB, I think Steve Jordan was our tight end, and Chris Carter was our deep threat. I can’t remember the name of the guy, but I can still picture our offensive coordinator at that time.

  19. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobschall … can we ask Frazier about Donte Whitner? If for no other reason to plant a seed?

    Maybe his asking price is too high I dont know but what I can tell is hes been more than 2x as productive as Tyrell ” whos got the ball? “Johnson

  20. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Arrow86 … it was Anthony Carter

  21. By Shawn on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Arrow … sorry the deep threat was Anthony Carter , I dont know who the OC was

  22. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Woodboat: Now that you mention the clutter to the right side of my screne I’m even more perplexed as to who is Brian Murphy? (A qualtiy Irish name, or an ingenious alias for Adrian Peterson?) Some of the names on the side scroll weren’t Vikings at all last season. Benny Sapp, Darius Reynaud,Sage Rosenfels, Chester Taylor. I know there are a few funny ones out there who would argue that Brad Childress wasn’t with the organization last year either.

  23. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    You’re right Shawn, it was A.C. not C.C. Heck,I always get Billy and Jimmy Carter switched around too…

  24. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    It’s 3:00 and the NFL network is going to show the start of Viking practice.

  25. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Arrow – Murphy was our Special Teams coordinator last year. He was replaced with Priefer for this year, who has yet to get mention from the blogs, and so is not on that clutter list yet.

  26. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Hutchinson didn’t have the Vikings players vote on the CBA yet, so they are delaying practice. The players are dressed in pads and helmet and they should be on the field shortly.

  27. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Disappointing headline of the day:
    Roger Goodell Will Retain Exclusive Control Over Personal Conduct Policy

    I never liked Goodell, and I don’t think any one person should get 100% of the say about how these sorts of issues are handled. It SHOULD be monitored by a committee, so that players are treated as fairly as possible. I don’t believe anyone, especially Goodell, can maintain an unbiased attitude towards every player/team.

  28. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb is on the field! GO #5!!! Go Vikings. McNabb is coming out with Schiancoe, Loadholt, and Herrera. Scott Hanson just asked him if he’s a go. McNabb replied “I think so. Otherwise I wouldn’t dress like this.”

  29. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    NFL network reports the CBA passed, but the Vikings haven’t gotten word yet, so our 17 guys are standing around until they get official word. It’s 3:45P.M. and practice was to start at 3:00P.M. Granted, there is still 5 weeks until season opener, but it is a waste of practice time. They should have scheduled practiced for 4:00 or 5:00 to avoid this standing around.

  30. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Someone to watch for: I’ve asked about finding a possible replacement for the hole that was created when Chester Taylor left for the Bears. I didn’t realize that the Vikings had Alexander Robinson on their roster. He is similar in size to Chester Taylor. He has been a 1,000 yard rusher in the Big 12. He is a good receiving back out of the backfield. He is a guy who grew up and played high school ball in Minneapolis. Hopefully, at least a practice squad player for now and eventually a roster spot.

  31. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Oh, so Alex Robinson is a RB? I was looking over the team’s roster and they have him listed at QB! I thought he looked pretty short for a QB. At least for a RB, 5’9″ is conceivable, but for a QB he wouldn’t even be able to see the guys open in the middle of the field!

    Regardless, he’ll have to beat out Booker for the third spot on the RB depth chart. I was pretty happy with what I saw from Booker at the end of last year, so I think it might be difficult for Robinson to make the final cut.

  32. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Brett Favre still maintains that his career is dead, but others are speculating that he’ll be swimming with the fishes this year.

    Or uh….at least the Dolphins. That’s right, recent news is that Miami is trying to add the Iron Man to their roster. So, will the Silver Fox re-submit himself to another year of beatings by coming out of retirement again, or will he finally hang it up and ride his tractor for the entire season? Is he the type that will say enough is enough, or does he NEED to die on the field of battle?

  33. By Frederick Jones on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Parody,

    My reaction to Goodell making conduct decisions was the same as yours. Perhaps someone has got to take the blame.

    It would be better if a committee decided if a player needed a fine/suspension or whatever. Then they could blame it on the committee. It’s hard to believe that Goodell would want that responsibility anyway.

    It’s win/lose for Goodell or any commissioner.

  34. By Vking56 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike W I hear are new tackle was beaten like a drum today by J.Allen. This OLine sure looks ugly,,,,,,,,,

  35. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe Jared just really got himself together in the offseason.

    And by the way, it’s “our” not “are”. It perplexes me how so many people make this mistake. It’s as if people are trying to type in Street Slang.

  36. By Daniel on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings fans, If you were a cordinator, where would you attack going against us? Where are our weak spots? In my view, it`s FS first, Liebers old spot second, and Pats spot third, and Edwards spot fourth. Fellas, our right side of the Defence is really patched up with chances rather than proven players. not even above average or average. I see a ton of weakness in our right side. The facts are, we need that right side beefed up big time. Saftey is a Big part of this answer. Tyrell is not this solution. The answer is Pollard or Whitner. Pollard recorded 111 tackles last year. that would be huge!

  37. By Daniel on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Then Will Henderson do well in Liebers spot? That remains to be seen, but all of his preseason games have shown me a very slow progression. Jasper would be solid there and I believe singleterry will see this void quickly. Thank God we have singleterry. I believe LBs will get solved.

  38. By Daniel on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Then of course there is Pats spot. Frankly I feel DE is more of a concern. Robinson would do well as a LB. NOT DE! Just watch Ballard and Griffen push Robinson to the side. Reed might even jump Robinson. One thing for sure. If Pat is gone, our new guy from the saints better be good.

  39. By Arrow86 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    @Daniel : I don’t know what time you posted about needing to pick up Whitner, but I saw he signed this afternoon with the 49ers. For some reason he was hoping to go to the Bengals. YIKES!! When was the last time someone was dying to play for the stripes?

    @Parody: Alexander Robinson was at Iowa State last season. I think they call their offensive style “the veer.” With a QB in shotgun, and one back in the backfield. For his size I thought Robinson picked up the blitz well. College is college and this is the pro’s, but I also thought Albert Young was going to be a good addition last year. Wobs said Booker looked good today, so that is good to here as well.

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