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Kalil, Blanton Stand Out In First Practice; Other Observations

Posted by Mike Wobschall on May 4, 2012 – 1:33 pm

The Vikings 10-player draft class plus 61 other players trying out for the club joined Vikings coaches and scouts on the field Friday morning for the first of five scheduled practices at this year’s rookie minicamp. Conditions were perfect, with the coaches and players working under sunny skies, moderate temperatures and a slight breeze.

The group of 71 players is comprised of the 10 draft picks from last weekend, 15 rookie free agents, 7 pre-draft signees and 39 players present on a tryout basis. The players were in helmets, jerseys and shorts with no pads, with the individual and team drill work similar to a full-squad minicamp practice; they are non-contact practices, however.

There will be another practice this afternoon at 2:55 p.m., two more on Saturday and then one final practice on Sunday. Here are a few thoughts from this morning’s practice…

– Although it’s presumed he’ll be the starter at LT from Day 1, #4 overall pick Matt Kalil doesn’t have an entitled attitude. Speaking with reporters after practice, Kalil acknowledged he has plenty of learning to do and he said playing next to a veteran such as Charlie Johnson – who will likely play LG in 2012 – will be an advantage.

– Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier came away impressed with Kalil after the first practice. “You can see why we have high hopes for him,” Frazier said. “He was excellent today.” Frazier was also asked about CB Josh Robison, whom the Vikings selected in the 3rd round, and Frazier said he noticed Robinson had an impressive burst while fielding kicks/punts.

– When asked what he’s looking for out of the rookies and tryout players in attendance this weekend, Frazier noted that standout plays are what catch coaches’ attention. Keep in mind, during the season and even training camp, coaches want to see playmakers but they also emphasize consistency and making routine plays. At this minicamp, though, a premium is being placed on making splash plays.

– Several Vikings veterans, who are not permitted to participate in this weekend’s minicamp, observed the morning practice from the sidelines. The players I noticed watching practice were: QBs Christian Ponder and Joe Webb, TEs John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph, OL Brandon Fusco, Charlie Johnson, Phil Loadholt, DeMarcus Love and John Sullivan, DL Everson Griffen, WR Manny Arceneaux and RB Jordan Todman.

– Last year during training camp I made mention of players who passed the “eye test” during practice. Today’s eye test winners were Kalil and S Robert Blanton. I already explained that Frazier was impressed with Kalil, but what I liked about Blanton was the way he carried himself on the field and added energy to the defense. He appears to be an intelligent player with a passion for the game. That observation is off of one practice, admittedly, but it was obvious this morning that Blanton enjoyed being on the field.

– K Blair Walsh met with a group of reporters after practice and said it was an honor to be on the roster with a player of Ryan Longwell’s stature and accomplishment. Asked if his best trait was his strong leg, Walsh acknowledged that many people credit him with a strong leg, but he also noted that all NFL kickers have strong legs and that he isn’t distinguished among them. Walsh also said that a player has to earn his place in the NFL, regardless of whether he was selected in the NFL draft or not.

– There are five former University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in camp this weekend. They are: WR Da’Jon McKnight, TEs Tiree Eure and Nick Tow-Arnett, DE Anthony Jacobs and DT Brandon Kirksey. McKnight met with a fairly large group of reporters after practice and called it a “blessing” to be in camp with the Vikings. He dealt with a knee injury last season, but says the knee is completely healed now.

– Two other under the radar players who stood out today were CB Bret Lockett and WR Josh Philpart.

– There are three QBs in camp this weekend. They are: Blake Bolles (NW Missouri State), McLeod Bethel-Thompson (Sacramento St.) and Spencer Ohm (Concordia – St. Paul).


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43 Responses to “Kalil, Blanton Stand Out In First Practice; Other Observations”

  1. By Spencer on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Mike W, how was Harrison Smith? You didnt say much about our 1st round draft pick- was it because he had a bad practice?

  2. By hognuts on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    What’s the status on Jarius Wright? I heard he hit his head and was throwing up.

  3. By cole s. on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    good to hear, but the vikings should get a few more players, lets say….WR Dale Moss from South Dakota State!? and maybe another LB

  4. By hognuts on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    I’m pretty sure Moss signed with the Packers.

  5. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    5th!

  6. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

  7. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Holmgren lost like his first 26 straight games as a high school JUNIOR VARSITY coach!

    He went on to win a SB for the Packers, and had the Seahawks in another SB.

    He was truly a great coach, yet look how he started!!!

    Support Leslie Frazier.

    Vikings 8-8, 12-4, Super Bowl Champions by 2015 or so.

  8. By Jake on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Moss Signed with the Packers

  9. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    A short bio of your great Vikings Head Coach:

    Frazier started his coaching career in 1988 as the first head coach at Trinity College in Illinois, now known as Trinity International University.

    He held the position for nine seasons, built the NAIA program from the ground up and won a pair of Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles before he moved on to the University of Illinois in 1997 as the Illinois defensive back’s coach.

    History has shown that if you can do it at a lower level, more often than not you can do it on a much higher level as well.

  10. By Spencer on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Fred- What team will Marcus Sherals play for now that he is the odd man out at CB?

  11. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    @Spencer,

    Are you trying to strike a nerve?

  12. By Frederick Jones on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    By the way, it’s spelled Sherels!

  13. By Spencer on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Me? Trying to strike a nerve with fellow bloggers? Hmm…doesnt sound like something I would do…

  14. By DeerTracks on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Sherels will mosy likely be the first of many present Vikings to be booted out the door—–

    To make room for all the new, fuzzy-cheek lads on the block!

  15. By sandiamond on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    robinson and cook swap jerseys? spencer’s new beast!

  16. By sandiamond on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    http://www.twincities.com/vikings/ci_20549988/minnesota-vikings-rookie-wr-greg-childs-oh-i?source=rss

    ‘I can do it all’ !!

  17. By Shawn on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Titus and Carl K … I dont think I said you guys were wrong. Which means I didnt say I was right. Possible the best thing in dealing with th politicians is to use a variety of pitches … perhaps you are right that a fast ball on every pitch wont work for long and maybe if others besides me contact these people and I know lots have but maybe we can be more successful

    Shawn … fastball
    Titus … change up
    Nova … curveball
    OTK …. slider
    Rock … cutter
    Carl K … knuckle ball

    and

    Spencer … scre’wball

  18. By Shawn on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    to everyone else … sorry I dont know anymore pitches

  19. By Matthias on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    How long will Wright stay out of camp?

    Bad that something like this happened during the offseason. Hopefully he will be training again in near future.

  20. By iaVIKE on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    What exactly happened to Wright?

  21. By VegasVike on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    @Shawn – you forgot
    McNabb – dirtball!

  22. By Shawn on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Titus … if you think Ive said something that is not factual then call me out. I try to the best of my knowledge deal in facts.

    Some people have turned their opinions into “facts” and our society functions in opinions rather than facts.

    To have a good opinion you must first have some facts. Someone once told me “I dont need knowledge I have an opinion”. Sadly he isnt alone and sadly that opinion has spread to others with no knowledge.

    I think I have on more than one occasion admitted to being wrong even her on the blog … everyone is wrong sometimes and Im not too proud to learn. Learn facts … not opinions.

  23. By Spencer on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Shawn- do you know if we are able to exchange our Cook jerseys for the current ones because he changed his number?

  24. By PurplHaze on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    I think Childs has the tools to impress people. I think defenders are going to be at risk of underestimating him. Can’t wait to see him get some playing time!

  25. By Matthias on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Robinson is looking fast and fluid, based on the tape on vikings.com (# 31, 0:39-0:44).

    http://www.vikings.com/media-vault/videos/Rookie-Minicamp-Highlights/84bf47cc-3857-419b-a6ae-4bb1e0076d7a

    Is it just me or does the Oline-guys look a bit slow? They have enough time to work on their first step and technique.

  26. By Shawn on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    ****** POST THIS EVERYWHERE ********* WE NEED MORE THAN A 50 FAN TURNOUT *************

    Vikings Invite Fans To Join Jared Allen & Others At Mall of America Saturday For Stadium Rally

    http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/Vikings-Invite-Fans-To-Join-Jared-Allen–Others-At-Mall-of-America-Saturday-For-Stadium-Rally/d22eb41b-da98-44cf-a9f6-29222a249297

  27. By Matthias on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    3 months till preseason…

  28. By Carl K on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Shawn- variety, that’s the ticket.
    I admire your passion for facts… But it is your bold fearless debating style that has me intimidated.

  29. By Shawn on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Carl dont be intimidated … im a mortal :)

  30. By YourSourceForSports on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Epic Vikings draft summary? you tell me, leave constructive criticizum in the comments. Thanks and Vikings purple people eaters are back!

  31. By OTKalil2012 on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Here are a few more pitches for you to work with Shawn…

    The sinker,rising fastball,slurve,knuckle change,knuckle curve, and spitter.

    Last but not least..The eephus pitch…Randy Johnson’s slow pitch special… ; )

    I like being that slider pitch…One of my best pitches back in my day…

  32. By rick on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    vikings are done!!! No stadium, no team. Way to go minnesota people! But I guess who cares…………..

  33. By tom n j on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    what about cb drayton florence bills could start now /

  34. By OTKalil2012 on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Its not over until some obese lady sings !!!… ; )

    Or something like that…hahaha

    I have called politicians galore…Hope you all have also…

    Monday will tell the story !!!…

    GO VIKINGS !!!

  35. By tom n j on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    JUST RELEASED

  36. By tom n j on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    let s look for kids that caN STARET IN 2 YEARS

  37. By DRS on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Vikings Stadium Update: Gov. Mark Dayton Vetoes Tax Plan, Possibly Dooming Stadium Vote

    May 04 10:53a by Chris White

    Read More: Minnesota Vikings

    A huge vote for another plan to get the Minnesota Vikings a new stadium is taking place on Monday, but Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton might have dealt it a blow when he struck down a GOP-crafted tax plan on Friday.

    As reported by the Star Tribune, the bill was sent to Dayton on Thursday and had tax breaks for businesses but potential use of ‘rainy day’ money from the state, and Dayton struck it down quickly. Unfortunately for the Vikings, that probably won’t sit well with the legislators who essentially told Dayton that the Stadium bill would be looked at a lot more favorably only if their tax bill passed:

    http://minnesota.sbnation.com/minnesota-vikings/2012/5/4/2998969/vikings-stadium-update-mark-dayton-vetoes-tax-plan/in/2263747

  38. By DRS on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Bye, bye Vikings, it is not looking good.

  39. By DRS on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Have to go.

  40. By mad1 on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    we need to meet were the vote is monday and show them how much this means to the fans all of us online in far states… now the time nomore waiting call send emails get a hold of these state legislators..We need to let them know this team is more to us than they do… And we will make them pay for this if it don’t go our way……..

  41. By purplegoldman on May 6, 2012 | Reply

    tHEY SHOULD TRY Elimimian out at Safty. He is 6 foot 230 pounds and he is touted to deliver wicked hits and sure tackler. If he is quick enough he would be a welcome addition to our safty rotation. We could have one of the hardest hitting Defences in the league, More created fumbles. It would be great to see the Vikes as the hardest hitting ,most punishing team in the Black and Blue Division once again. The Purple and Gold Knock you out Cold.

  42. By rjg0915 on May 6, 2012 | Reply

    Regarding Frazier, last year he was outcoached in the 2nd half numerous times (too painful to count). The Vikings had half time leads, specifically at the start of the season. The other coaches out-coached Frazier. The NFL is not the place to learn.

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