The Vikings stayed away from the practice fields on Sunday after a solid practice on Saturday night inside Blakeslee Stadium and in front of a packed house. But on Monday head coach Leslie Frazier and Co. were back at it and the team picked up the intensity level quickly.
“We had a good, spirited practice out there this morning,” Frazier said. “After having a day off on Sunday and just getting a chance to have a good [practice] on Saturday, early on I was a little concerned about where their minds would be after having some time off. But they jumped right into it. It was a good practice for us and I don’t think we wasted any time out there. Hopefully we will build on that in our first week of preparation of a preseason game.”
The Vikings continue to benefit from outstanding weather here in Mankato. There have been some pretty hot and humid days, but the last three or four days have seen mild temperatures, plenty of cloud cover and only a slight breeze. Monday morning was perfect and a full crowd was on-hand to enjoy it. The team worked out in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets and then RBs signed autographs after practice in the Northland Ford Dealers Autograph Zone, probably a big reason why the crowd was so large.
This has been an incredibly smooth camp for the Vikings in many different ways, one of which has been injuries. But it’s time to knock on wood. The Vikings had several players sitting out on Monday, which shouldn’t be entirely surprising after a week of camp. TE Visanthe Shiancoe came up a little lame and Frazier said he may have tweaked his hamstring. S Tyrell Johnson did not practice today, also because of a hamstring issue. DE Adrian Awasom (illness) didn’t practice, WR Percy Harvin was limited (winded), RG Anthony Herrera continues to sit out of practice as he has all of camp and LG Steve Hutchinson (shoulder) was also limited.
Play of the Day
The best play of the morning practice came during a full team portion of practice. QB Joe Webb scrambled out of the pocket to his left to avoid the pass rush and bought enough time for WR Manny Arceneaux to sprint away from the defense and get open downfield. Webb threw the ball with enough power to hit Arceneaux in stride down the left sideline for what would’ve been a very long TD, right in front of the packed bleachers at Field #1.
Frazier on CBs Cook, Griffin
A position to watch during camp and the preseason is CB, where Antoine Winfield is the only sure thing right now. I think Cedric Griffin has looked outstanding all of camp, but he is coming back from two consecutive major knee injuries. Chris Cook is another who is coming back from injury but has definitely looked good during camp.
Frazier was asked about both guys during his Monday morning press conference. Here’s what he had to say…
— On Cedric Griffin coming back from injury: “What he is doing right now is exceptional, the fact that he’s out there participating in practice, preparing to play in the NFL again, having a second ACL injury, two within an eighteen-month period. That’s hard to put your mind around that you can come back and be practicing at the level at the level he’s practiced at; [it's] a testament to who Cedric is and how hard he works and how great of an attitude and approach he has on life.”
— On Chris Cook potentially emerging as the 3rd CB: We still have quite a bit more football to go here, so we have to take a look at him and Ash (Asher Allen) and those guys and just see who rises to the top. What he’s doing in practice, it really gives you some hope that he’s on course, but we have a lot more to go before we get to San Diego.”
The Eye Test
To be honest I didn’t think as many guys stood out Monday morning as we’ve seen in the past. That could be construed two different ways: either not many are playing well enough to standout, or lots of players are playing well enough to standout but since so many are playing that way none of them actually standout. Anyway, there were four players who looked better than everyone else today; they were: DE Jared Allen (having maybe the best camp of any Vikings player), LB E.J. Henderson (looks better than he’s looked in years), P Chris Kluwe (played very well on Saturday night) and DE D’Aundre Reed.
Reed is a repeat mention in my eye test section of the practice notes and it sounds like he’s a name that’s brought up in coaches meetings as well. Here’s what Frazier had to say about Reed: “Yes, he’s a guy we’re going to keep an eye on and looking forward to seeing how he performs in some of these preseason games. In practice, he’s flashing. We were talking about him in our staff meetings last night so we’re anxious to see how he does against some new competition (in the preseason games).
Tags: Emmanuel Arceneaux, Joe Webb, Leslie Frazier
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