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Vikings Offense Progressing; Morning Pracitce Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 10, 2011 – 12:04 pm

It’s natural for offenses to come along slower than defenses in training camp and the preseason, largely because offenses rely on rhythm and timing. Add in the fact that the lockout took away minicamps and OTAs, and offenses are at an even greater disadvantage.

The Vikings are certainly no exception to that rule, especially with two new QBs and a bunch of new WRs added to the mix since the end of the 2010 season. Individual players have performed well quite often at 2011 Verizon Vikings Training Camp, but as a group there is still plenty of progress to be made.

The good news is that progress is being made and Vikings coaches are pleased with the way the team is working. Things are going in the right direction.

“I think the guys are getting better each day,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said on Tuesday. “They’re starting to absorb the concepts and the techniques that we’re teaching. We haven’t had a lot of time and we’ve acknowledged that, but they’ve done a superb job of getting better every day, focusing on an area of improvement every day rather just going out there and mindlessly working through practice.”

Musgrave credited head coach Leslie Frazier for the way he’s organized this training camp, especially in light of the unusual CBA-related circumstances that surrounded the beginning of camp.

“The practices are structured where we are covering each and every situation,” Musgrave explained. “The players feel prepared, we feel prepared as coaches, we’re just scratching the surface of in terms of having enough turns at our plays where we’re real precise and good at them.”

The next big step in the offense’s progression will come on Saturday night when the Vikings play at the Tennessee Titans for the preseason opener. It wouldn’t be fair to expect a crisp, mistake-free performance by the offense. But it’s certainly fair to expect the offense to continue its progression and the bottom line is the offense must be “all systems go” by the time the regular season rolls around.

Musgrave certainly understands that.

“We’re not anywhere close to where we need to be in terms of the precision of the passing game,” Musgrave said. “I think guys know what they’re doing, but in terms of having the number of turns it takes to be good at it, we’re not there. But fortunately we’ll have until September 11 to get good at those things.”

The current status of the Vikings offense is nothing about which to be alarmed. In fact, Vikings fans should take solace in the fact that they’ll have a 13-year veteran QB in Donovan McNabb at the helm and there will be plenty of talent around McNabb to get the offense firing on all cylinders.

Here are a few notes from Wednesday morning’s practice…

– The Vikings worked for over two hours in ideal weather conditions. The heat has been dialed back several notches, the sun is shining and the blustery winds from Tuesday have vanished. Frazier had his team in shorts, shoulder pads/jerseys and helmets for the workout.

– Another outstanding crowd packed the bleachers and standing-room only sections of 2011 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. I know I’ve mentioned this countless times during camp, but I can’t say enough about how great Vikings fans have been to the team over the last 10 days. All the practices are well-attended, the Northland Ford Dealers Autograph Zone is constantly buzzing, Vikings Village is rocking and the support from the local Mankato community has been terrific.

– The Vikings have practiced “the little things” a lot during this camp. It might sound like a foregone conclusion that this is the case, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how important some facets of the game can be, even though we only see them on occasion. For example, I saw special teams coordinator Mike Priefer working with his group on Tuesday in the back of the endzone. They were practicing punting while backed up and they also worked on situations where the team would intentionally take a safety (winning by six points, backed up on your own 1-yardline with less than a minute to go). Other “little things” I’ve seen the Vikings working on recently: Hail Mary, rushing onto the field to kick a FG with time running out, onside kick, punt after safety and diving to save a touchback on a punt.

– S Husain Abdullah was absent from practice on Wednesday as he attends the annual Iftar Dinner at the White House on Wednesday night, celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Rookie S Mistral Raymond got most of the work with the first-team, which is an interesting development. 

– LB Jasper Brinkley has been working mostly with the second-team defense, but he’s a candidate to earn a job with the first-team if he can outperform Erin Henderson during camp and the preseason. Right now Henderson is the favorite to fill the role vacated by Ben Leber’s departure, but Brinkley has been good in camp and he helped himself today by intercepting a pass during 7-on-7 drills.

– The offense bounced back immediately after Brinkley’s INT, though. Ponder zipped a pass in to WR Greg Camarillo on the next play for what would’ve been a large gain down the left seam. On the last play of 7-on-7, Ponder and Camarillo connected again, this time on the right side of the field.

– There were three great catches that I noticed during the team’s two-minute drill part of practice. The first one was an all-hands catch by TE Kyle Rudolph. He had a defender draped all over him and the pass was thrown perfectly by Joe Webb to his outside shoulder. Rudolph lunged for the ball, got his hands underneath it and hauled in the catch while maintaining possession all the way through the play. The second great catch was by WR Devin Aromashodu down the sideline. He was led perfectly by Ponder and also got two feet in bounds before crossing the boundary. The third catch was on a pass from Webb to WR Manny Arceneaux down the right side that put the offense in FG range with less than a minute to play.

– Passing the eye test today: WR Devin Aromashodu, QB Christian Ponder, S Mistral Raymond and TE Kyle Rudolph.

– A group of political leaders from Ramsey County was at practice and both Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf and VP of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley spoke with reporters after practice.

– The defensive line signed autographs in the Northland Ford Dealers Autograph Zone.

– The Vikings have a one-hour walk-through Wednesday afternoon beginning at 3:00 p.m.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 43 Comments »


43 Responses to “Vikings Offense Progressing; Morning Pracitce Notes”

  1. By Carl K on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Rookie S Mistral Raymond got most of the work with the first-team, which is an interesting development.

    Mike what is interesting about it?
    T. Johnson is injuried and H. Abdullah was absent… so the only other choice was Eric Frampton or Ryan Hill. It is not like we are deep at the safety position!

    What is interesting, is why the Vikings have allowed the safety position to get so thin?????????

  2. By DC on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    How is McNabb doing? He is noticeably missing from these blog entries when describing the action on the field. How is it that you can have a blog about practice with so little mention of the starting QB. Is it because he’s not looking good, and you don’t want to get the fans talking about that? Were you asked not to mention him so much? You mention a number of big pass plays, and on one you mention that the pass came from Ponder … on another you mention a pass from Webb … that makes McNabb’s absence that much more conspicuous. What’s the deal? We’d like to know how the new starting QB is doing, either way.

  3. By gorvike on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Mike!

    Please fix the sound at the pressers. The mics are not working!!You need to have someone checking that at all times. You can hear the reporters now, but just barely hear the speakers.

    Let get the tech on.

  4. By gorvike on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    just trying to listen to Ziggy, and same thing. Mics Not working.

  5. By Skol_Vikes98 on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Am I posting anything? It seems like my comments arent posting…..

  6. By Skol_Vikes98 on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    BAH, now it works…..

    Take 3:

    Hey Mike,
    I’ve noticed that Ponder has passed the eye test a few times but we haven’t heard much from Webb. Who do think is showing a better command of the offense,Webb or Ponder? Does either QB show show crisper passing? I’ve noticed Webb seems to pop up in the highlights more often. Has Webb (or Ponder) had a chance to run yet?

  7. By VFAN on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I was thinking the same thing as DC, what is with McNabb? Never been much of a fan of McNabb so it really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he got beat out by Ponder or Webb.

  8. By Nightdog on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    My last post didn’t go. It was to tell Mike the pressers are great, but the production ia always srewed up. I wish to be hired by you to tech the pressers, all I need is season tickets, and a closet a the metro dome, all utlities paid. thanks

  9. By fuzzy on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @ DC and VFAN, we haven’t been hearing much from McNabb because he isn’t performing as well as he needs to be, especially today. He had a fairly dismal day: accuracy problems, not making reads fast enough, and not being able to throw a decently tight spiral. Webb looked alright today, but he still doesn’t seem to have much confidence in his arm. Ponder was crisp and smooth though, with his pass to Devin down the sideline being the day’s highlight, but he also had another to Kyle (I think it was him). Actually, he was the only quarterback who was moving the offense with any sort of rhythm.

    Mike, you may want to take a look at this article again, there were quite a few spelling errors. I usually frown in disgust when people point it out, but I have to do it this time.

  10. By fuzzy on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Oh and Mike, is there any way you could remove Chilly’s GIANT name from the tags/archive thing on the right side of the site. Part of me dies inside every time I happen to look over there…

  11. By David P on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    The reason McNabb was not mentioned on any of the highlights. He was too busy throwing up. What a joke of a QB.

  12. By DC on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for the report there, fuzzy. Unlike some others, I wasn’t asking because I would like to see McNabb replaced. I think he gives the team the best chance to win if they want to take another real shot at it while some of the major pieces are still in place. A rookie QB almost never does well in his first year. McNabb’s one of the winningest QBs in the game over the last decade. He should have a chance to play a few real games before we can make a true judgement. Some guys are just gamers. That said, we should know how the starting QB is looking. It’s why we follow camp.

  13. By Jack on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I like that Raymond is getting time. After watching his high light tape from college I feel like this guy may have been a great steal for us late in the draft

  14. By Daniel on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Abdullah gone, tyrell has a hamy, and Raymond growing. Bad,bad,bad. Good grief. We have got to get serious on this Saftey Issue or we are in some trouble. I would love to see Brinkley in Liebers spot. He looks way more fluid than Henderson. Am I mistaken or did Greenway move to Liebers spot. Good move there too if thats true. I still feel like Johnson needs compitition on LT. Some high dollar guys still need to go. My guess is Herrera. I hope peterson gets a contract. Greenway too. I still feel like Kleinsassage should go for cap space or a LT pickup and throw Johnson back to Guard. I now they probably not drop The sassage, and that is ok, I like his ability. Always have, but too much ging for a FB-TE. Did we even give that when richardson was here?

  15. By hans johnson on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    EVERYONE! they arent mentioning mcnabb because all of these notes are supposed to be impressive. they all expect mcnabb to be doing good. and im sure we do too. the notes are about rookies, new players, and postions that are questionable. mcnabb is the starting QB no matter how good or bad he is.

  16. By Rudso on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I share the same opinion as Jack. I’m sure I saw the same video of Raymond and I really like the way he plays. I hope he replaces Williams.

  17. By WASSUP on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    what’s going on with Percy Harvin, V Shiancoe, Michael Jenkins, and Bernard Berrian ? I haven’t heard anything about these guys and it concerns me that they’re not doing well.

  18. By DC on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    hans, the problem with your theory is that in past blogs players like Jared Allen and AP were mentioned … and I’m pretty sure that their spots are secure. In fact, I know that Jared Allen is dominating in this camp because of these blogs. That’s good to know. It would also be good to know how the starting QB is doing.

  19. By Shawn on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobschall … Good stuff with clips, pics, and info … I will have to give you a rating of AA+ because you ignored my Jerry Burns question you dont get the coveted AAA rating :)

  20. By Shawn on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I thought the Henry Thomas clip was interesting in how he has …

    1- voluntered to help coach

    and

    2- current staff has no issues with former greats helping out the staff

    I like that

  21. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Carl K – Raymond’s inclusion with the first-team is interesting because Tyrell Johnson was not hurt (he practiced today) and because Raymond is a rookie. Having a rookie play with the first-team is an interesting development, especially when that rookie hasn’t been playing with the first team most of camp.

    DC – McNabb is doing just fine. I appreciate everyone’s concern and enthusiasm, but right now we’re over-analyzing the QB position. It’s early yet in camp, especially since there was no offseason, and it’s going to take time for the offense to get going. I’ve heard reports all across the League that offenses look sloppy.

  22. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Skol_Vikes98 – I don’t think either Ponder or Webb standout over the other at this point. We haven’t installed the whole offense yet, so I’m going to reserve judgment until a see a preseason game or two and the entire offense installed.

    VFAN – You should become a fan of McNabb. He’s the reason this team will be able to compete in the NFC North. Ponder and Webb have great potential and I’m pleased with where they are right now, but McNabb is the real deal and will help the Vikings win this year.

    WASSUP – Aren’t you reading the blog every day? I talk about them frequently.

    Shawn – I’m sorry, didn’t mean to ignore your Jerry Burns question. He was just visiting camp. He still has a lot of friends on our staff and he’s always welcome to Vikings events. We love coach Burns!

  23. By Rudso on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I’m cheering for Mistral Raymond. Get that starting job Mr. Raymond!

  24. By Carl K on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @ Mike Wobs – thanks for the update on Tyrell. Can Raymond play both safety spots?

  25. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I haven’t seen anything related to Donovan to really say he is leading this team. I haven’t seen Donovan pass the eye test yet because quite frankly he hasn’t. And enough with the imposters please. Starting Thursday 8.11.11 I will have this problem fixed. Thank you.

  26. By Nightdog on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    does Mike ever read these?

  27. By hans johnson on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    good point DC. i think your right and wrong. so, RB and DE are easy to impress with, and QB is very hard to impress with. also, they havent really spoken about webb or ponder either. but your reason makes sense, but not 100 percent

  28. By 4eversteve on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    I wish John Randle would come down to training camp and be an intern coach for the Vikings. Maybe some of that intensity that he played the game with will rub off on the current defensive line. Just take the D-line back to the film room and show clips on John Randle a guy 6 foot for life would take on double and triple teams an still get to the quarterback, an undrafted free agent who is now in the Hall of Fame, how inspirational would that be. This guy when he took the field the other team knew he was going to bring it all day long and I have not witness that type of effort since the day he left the Vikings on a consistent bases. I could watch film on John Randle all day with the war paint on barking at the O-line letting them know he was about to kill their quarterback and there wasn’t anything they could do about it. The man was a ” BEAST”

  29. By Parody on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @ “Mike Wobschall” – Forgive me for being a little hesitant to believe your claim that the issues will be solved as early as tomorrow, but due to the acts of recent imposters, I’m sure you understand why.

    Could you elaborate on how this problem will be solved? Will it simply be blocking anyone who attempts to post under the Mike Wobschall name, or will it go further to address all imposters? This is an issue to which some of the regular bloggers have been asking for a solution to for a long time, so it seems rather curious that it is only being addreseed now, just a day after the site’s primary journalist is being slandered and falsely represented.

  30. By Parody on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    Conflicting opinions from two separate “Mike Wobschall” postings:
    …so I’m going to reserve judgment until a see a preseason game or two and the entire offense installed.

    I haven’t seen anything related to Donovan to really say he is leading this team. I haven’t seen Donovan pass the eye test yet because quite frankly he hasn’t.

    Maybe I’m overanalyzing, but it really looks like that second posting is an imposter again. Why would Mike tell us that he’s reserving judgement then quickly after give us his judgement of McNabb’s leadership (or lack thereof)? It just doesn’t sound like the real Wobby in the second posting…

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

    Mike Wobschall would not say anything negative about McNabb during the preseason. What would his motivation be?

    Besides McNabb is 6’2″ 240′ and built like a Mack Truck. Would you mess with the guy? They will see each other ! ! !

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

    I think the Packer, Bear, or Lion fan is having fun with us.

  33. By Arrow86 on Aug 10, 2011 | Reply

    @Shawn:

    I have a personal story about Henry Thomas that is too long winded to share on this post. He is a class act through and through. I wish he would have played every snap as a pro in Viking purple, but at least he’s passing on his knowledge of the position and of being a professional to the next generation.

  34. By sandiamond on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    @Carl, raymond’s move to S already shows a weakness at the position imo. We drafted Mistral to be a defensive back but he has college exp at both positions.If we don’t make a move in free agency our safety players might be a “torched” revolving door by mid-season once opposing receivers catch stride

  35. By Stoney on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    PARODY, Good catch on the fake Wobschall

  36. By VikesFan101 on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    It’s easy to tell which one is fake. The real Mike is a journalists, so he knows his punctuation. The fake Mike has no idea what a comma is.

  37. By VikesFan101 on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    journalist singular lol

  38. By skol patrol on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    this is pointless. we dont know how the vikes will do. so why talk about it.

  39. By Titus on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    Vikesfan101– are you sure? I have seen plenty of mistakes.

  40. By there aint no wobschall on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    there aint no wobschall. he dont got none time for this boloney

  41. By Parody on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus – I agree, Mike has made much more blatant mistakes than forgetting how to use a comma. The posting itself was simply not Mike’s style. Even IF a player or coach is obviously underperforming, coughcoughChildresscoughcoughcough, Wobby has always tried to represent everyone on the team in a positive light.

  42. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    Furthermore, since it is now officially the 11th hour, (11th of the PM hours that is) of 8.11.11, and I am able to post a comment under Mike’s name, it’s safe to conclude that the claim made in the comment in question was false. This becomes even more proof that it was not made by the real Mike Wobschall.

  43. By Parody on Aug 11, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry about using your name as my own Wobby. I just figured this was the most effective way to support my claim.

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