Monday’s Top Plays

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2012 – 7:57 pm

The energy level picked up a notch at 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp on Monday, as the Vikings donned pads for the first time and guys were flying around making plays. With 90 players and roughly 120 minutes of practice time, it’s hard to catch all of the best action. But here’s a quick review of the top plays I saw on Monday…

– We’ll begin at the end of practice, where the Vikings offense and defense went toe-to-toe in a goal line drill. The situation was 1st and goal from the 1-yardline with 8 seconds remaining on the clock and the offense needing a touchdown to win the game. The best action came when the third teams were on the field. QB Sage Rosenfels took the snap and lofted a pass to the back corner of the end zone for rookie Jarius Wright, who made an acrobatic catch over CB Corey Gatewood and tried to tap both feet in bounds before being shoved out of bounds. The official signaled touchdown, which prompted a celebration from the offense and heavy protest from the defense, all in good fun. The best protest – or at least the most comical protest – came from DE Jared Allen, who wasn’t involved in the play. “This is not college! This is not college! This isn’t high school,” Allen bellowed with a huge smile on his face. “You gotta have two feet in!” Allen was in the official’s face as if he were a baseball manager arguing a call with an umpire, and the entire display was a moment of levity to conclude what was the team’s most intense practice of camp so far.

– The Christian Ponder-to-Kyle Rudolph connection was as strong as ever on Monday, with Rudolph being a popular target of Ponder’s yet again. Midway through practice Ponder rifled a pass down the middle of the field to the goal line, leading Rudolph perfectly and putting the pass just out of the reach of LB Chad Greenway. Despite a gamely attempt by Greenway to deflect the pass, Rudolph was able to haul in the reception for a TD. “Kyle’s got like four or five inches on him in height, let alone wingspan. If you just get the ball up, he’s going to get it.”

– WR Devin Aromashodu is good for a flashy play or two each practice, and that was the case on Monday. Aromashodu ran a go route down the left sideline and made what turned out to be an excellent back shoulder reception while leaping over a defender. The pass came from QB Joe Webb.

– LBs Jasper Brinkley and Everson Griffen delivered a couple big-time hits. Brinkley met RB Lex Hilliard near the line of scrimmage during the second-to-last team period of practice and came out on top of the confrontation. Griffen saw FB Ryan D’Imperio make a reception in front of him and then saw fit to end the play abruptly by putting a big hit on the FB.

– Veterans Chris Carr and Tyrone McKenzie combined to force a turnover during a 7-on-7 drill. Carr tipped a pass and McKenzie, playing middle LB, got underneath the deflection to collect the INT and run the other way with a convoy of blockers in front of him.

– RB Jordan Todman flashed his greatest asset – speed – during the second-to-last team period of practice. Todman took a handoff that appeared to be designed to go inside and bounced out wide left. Todman gained the edge on the defense and raced down the left sideline for what would’ve been a TD run of at least 65 yards.

– Rosenfels displayed some athleticism near the end of practice during a team period. On the play, Rosenfels sprinted right after feeling pressure from his left and bought just enough time to hit rookie receiver Greg Childs near the sideline. Childs tapped both toes in bounds to complete the play, making up for a drop on a deep pass he had earlier in the day.

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Looking Back On A Busy Monday At Vikings Training Camp

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2012 – 4:56 pm

Monday was a busy day at 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. It began with a typical morning walk-thru and concluded with the team’s first padded practice of camp. In between, the Vikings announced that Matt Blair would become the 20th member of the team’s Ring of Honor, Adrian Peterson went to the hospital and Percy Harvin left practice with an injury.

Where do we begin? Let’s start with Peterson. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier disclosed to reporters after the team’s afternoon practice that Peterson had been taken to the hospital because of an allergic reaction to seafood he ate during lunch.

“He’s back now, in the dorm, resting,” Frazier said. “He’s doing fine. He’ll pick back up with his rehab. He’s been cleared. Everything is back to normal now. Little bit of a scare, but he’s fine.”

As for Harvin, he appeared to have some sort of hand injury midway through practice and eventually went into the locker room for evaluation. Harvin emerged a short time later, worked on the side with a trainer, and then returned to practice.

Earlier in the day, the Vikings announced that Blair would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on Thursday evening, October 25 at halftime of their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Blair played LB for the Vikings from 1974-85 and still ranks second in team history with 1,452 tackles. He also has more sacks (23.0) and INTs (16) than any other LB in team history.

On Monday we conducted interviews with Blair, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf and TE Kyle Rudolph. Stay tuned to for those interviews and much more coverage from training camp.

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Matt Blair To Become 20th Vikings Ring Of Honor Member

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2012 – 2:15 pm

Induction into the Vikings Ring of Honor is the highest honor the organization can bestow upon an individual. The Vikings announced on Monday from 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp that former LB Matt Blair will receive that honor on Thursday, October 25 of this year.

Blair, a second-round pick of the Vikings out of Iowa State in 1974, played LB for the Vikings from 1974-85 and still ranks second in team history with 1,452 tackles; he collected 220 tackles in 1980, marking the third-most tackles by a player in team history. Only fellow Ring of Honor member Scott Studwell and Roy Winston played in more games at LB for the Vikings than Blair’s 160 games (with 130 starts) and no other Vikings LB had more sacks (23.0) or INTs (16). Blair had a knack for being around the ball at the right time, as illustrated by the fact that he blocked 20 kicks during his career and had three games in which he blocked two kicks.

A six-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro, Blair made his appearances in the all-star game in consecutive seasons (1977-82), and Alan Page (nine) is the only defensive player in club history with more Pro Bowls to his credit. Blair played on two Super Bowl teams with the Vikings, and the club won NFC Central Division titles and went to the playoffs in six of his first seven seasons in the League.

The Vikings Ring of Honor recognizes Vikings legends for their contributions to the success of the team on and off the field. Members of the Ring of Honor are recognized with a banner on the facade of Mall of America Field’s upper deck, forever living in Vikings lore.

Vikings Ring of Honor
Fran Tarkenton – 1998
Alan Page – 1998
Jim Finks – 1998
Bud Grant – 1998
Paul Krause – 1998
Fred Zamberletti – 1998
Jim Marshall – 1999
Ron Yary – 2001
Korey Stringer – 2001
Mick Tingelhoff – 2001
Carl Eller – 2001
Cris Carter – 2002
Bill Brown – 2003
Jerry Burns – 2005
Randall McDaniel – 2006
Chuck Foreman – 2007
John Randle – 2008
Scott Studwell – 2009
Chris Doleman – 2011
Matt Blair – 2012

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Vikings Tweak Roster Before First Padded Practice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2012 – 12:23 pm

The Vikings will conduct their first padded practice of 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp on Monday afternoon, but before they do the team made a few tweaks to the roster.

DB Nick Taylor was waived with the injured designation, and the Vikings signed DB Chris Stroud to fill the vacant roster spot. Taylor injured his shoulder early in camp, and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said that the injury would require major surgery. Stroud is a rookie and comes to the Vikings from Webber International.

The team also reported that WR Stephen Burton had passed his physical. Burton has been dealing with a toe injury that kept him out of action the first few days of camp, but passing the physical is a step in the right direction to getting back on the field.

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Pads Will Pop On Monday At Vikings Training Camp

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2012 – 6:08 am

There’s been a walk-before-you-run type of feeling around 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp so far, with a pair of morning walk-thrus and afternoon practices on Friday and Saturday before a day off on Sunday. Head Coach Leslie Frazier’s team has worked well over the two days, as the offense has looked sharp under second-year Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave and the defense has begun its transition to new Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams’ plan.

But the pace will quicken and the intensity will spike significantly on Monday. Yes, the pads will pop and training camp as we’ve become accustomed to will emerge.

The Vikings will hold their first padded practice of this year’s camp on Monday at 2:45 p.m., following their customary morning walk-thru at 10:30. Everyone’s questions about how rookie LT Matt Kalil looks against DE Jared Allen or how Everson Griffen looks playing in his new position will begin to be answered. There’s nothing like the crunching of pads and popping of helmets to get football fans excited for what’s shaping up to be another fun season.

Monday marks the 2012 opening of the Northland Ford Dealer’s Autograph Zone, where you can meet and greet Vikings players each day. Beginning today and going through August 14, one position group will be in the autograph zone each day after the morning walk-thru, with gates opening 25 minutes prior to the conclusion of the walk-thru and autographs beginning immediately after practice for another 25 minutes. Today’s featured group is the TEs, including one of the most impressive performers so far during camp – Kyle Rudolph.

If you haven’t yet done so, head down or up or over to Minnesota State University, Mankato to get a good, early look at the 2012 Minnesota Vikings.

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