The Vikings had a “good, spirited” practice on Wednesday at Winter Park, according to Head Coach Leslie Frazier. The team worked out in full pads and under ideal conditions as they continue preparations for this Saturday’s preseason game in Seattle.
Frazier pointed out that Wednesday’s practice included periods where the team worked in backed-up, two-minute, goal line and short-yardage situations.
But right now the main issues for the Vikings revolve around some minor injuries and how playing time for the second preseason game will be distributed. Several players have missed a practice or two this week coming off of last weekend’s preseason opener, but the good news is the team isn’t dealing with any major injuries.
“The further you get along,” Frazier said of training camp, “you’re going to have some bumps and bruises and fortunately for us, we haven’t had any major issues. There’s nothing more than muscle pulls or strains and you’ll get through those in time.”
The highest-profile player to miss time so far has been WR Percy Harvin, who has a mild rib injury and has missed most of practice over the past two days. Frazier indicated that Harvin is fine but that the team is being careful. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Harvin was held out of Saturday’s game to ensure that he fully heals. His role on the team is pretty well-defined, so it might actually be more beneficial to have him sit than to have him play, largely so the coaching staff can get a look at other players behind Harvin on the depth chart.
A guy who has looked great in training camp but who didn’t make it onto the field last weekend is CB Cedric Griffin. He’s coming back from a knee injury that ended his 2010 season early and it sounds like he might get on the field for a few minutes on Saturday night in Seattle.
“At least a series,” Frazier said when asked how much Griffin might play on Saturday. “That’s where we’re thinking right now. We’ll see how he does tomorrow (Thursday) in practice, how he finishes and if he finishes fine we may try to get him a series.”
As questionable as the secondary looked last weekend, keep in mind that the team’s two best CBs (Griffin and Antoine Winfield) didn’t play. It seems only fair that Griffin and Winfield be allowed on the field before an iron-clad judgment can be cast on the progress of the secondary from the end of last season to the beginning of this season.
Speaking of the Vikings secondary, there’s another guy who didn’t get on the field last weekend but who has been having a superb camp. It’s rookie S Mistral Raymond, and he was held out last weekend because he tweaked his hamstring on the final play of the Mankato version of training camp.
Raymond is an impressive-looking athlete at the safety position. He has good size (6-1, 194 pounds) but also has the agility, quickness and speed you look for in a starting NFL DB. Raymond actually played some CB in college, so it’ll be interesting to see if he has the combination of aggressiveness and coverage ability you look for in an NFL safety.
“He’s a guy we’re anxious to take a look at in a game situation but we feel pretty good about his athleticism and how well he’s picked up things on defense,” Frazier said of Raymond. “Now it’s a matter of how he plays against other opponents but we’re looking forward to watching him play.”
Vikings fans should be, too. With questionable play at times over the last couple of seasons at safety, Raymond is one of a few players with an eye on a starting job in the Vikings secondary. The competition at safety, specifically, is thick and I think it will yield positive results for the Vikings defense.
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Leslie Frazier, Mistral Raymond, Percy Harvin
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