We at vikings.com are lucky enough to have rookie WR Greg Childs blogging for us here in Mankato at Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Below is his first entry on how the first few days of camp have gone for him. Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter at @TheGregChilds85.
What’s up everyone? My name is Greg Childs, and I’m a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. This year is my first training camp in the NFL and I’m loving every second of it. It’s a lot of hard work, but nothing worth it ever came easy, right?
We reported to training camp on Thursday, July 26 in Mankato, Minnesota. I rode down with Jarius Wright, a close friend of mine and also a wide receiver. He’s cool. We grew up together in Warren, Arkansas, we played together at the University of Arkansas and then we were both drafted in the same round of this year’s draft by the same team.
So far the practices have been tough. There are a lot of good players up here in the NFL, but I love the competition and know that I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m looking to represent my family and all my fans the best way I can, and that’s by always playing hard and never giving up.
I plan on checking in with you guys regularly during camp, so don’t forget to come back and read about what’s going on with myself and the Vikings. You can also keep up by following me on Twitter. My handle is @TheGregChilds85.
That’s it for now. See ya’ll later!
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The competitive spirit was as thick in the air as the sweltering humidity on Tuesday at 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp, as the Vikings conducted their second padded practice that included a couple periods of live, tackle-to-the ground work. Those periods featured short-yardage and goal line situations, perfect opportunities to jot down some notes.
Here are a few of them from Tuesday’s practice…
A large crowd of scouts, special guests and members of the ownership group gathered around one end of Field #2 to watch the RBs, FBs and TEs go one-on-one against the LBs. The drill is competitive as it is, but the unusually large crowd that gathered near the drill only intensified the atmosphere.
The first part of the drill required the offensive players to pass protect against the defensive players. LB Jasper Brinkley got home on his first three rushes and RB Jordan Todman jumped up and displayed some striking pass protection. Rookie LB Audie Cole got in the mix with a great swim move to get past his blocker in a flash and LB Everson Griffen showed his explosion by winning two of his three matchups.
The offense saw much more success in the pass receiving/coverage portion of the drill. The star of the show was TE Kyle Rudolph, who had no trouble wiggling open and hauling in receptions. He made an inside move on LB Chad Greenway and then broke to the outside, creating plenty of separation for Christian Ponder to loft a pass toward the TE. John Carlson got in on the action, too, utilizing an out-breaking route to separate from Griffen and haul in a pass. Todman also flashed once again, shaking free from Cole to win his matchup.
Goal Line Battles
There was outstanding back-and-forth between the offense and defense in the team’s goal line drill. The drill was setup for the offense to have it 1st-and-goal from the 2-yardline. In all three matchups (first team, second team, third team), the defense stymied the offense on 1st and 2nd down, but yielded a TD on 3rd down.
Greenway made one of the better defensive plays of the day when he registered a pass breakup (PBU) on a fade route from Ponder to Rudolph. On the next play CB Chris Cook, DT Letroy Guion and Greenway combined to stuff RB Lex Hilliard short of the goal line. On 3rd down, though, Hilliard burrowed his way into the end zone.
The second team offense threw an incomplete pass on their 1st down try and then saw Todman get stuffed. On 3rd down, RB Derrick Coleman surged past the defense and into the end zone for the score.
Coleman took a handoff on 1st down for the third team, too, and was stopped by a trio consisting of Cole, Griffen and DE Ernest Owusu. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw an incomplete pass on 2nd down and then he hit FB Ryan D’Imperio for a TD on 3rd down.
Booming Blair Walsh
It’s standard for the Vikings begin practice with a special teams period or two, and today practice began very well for the Vikings. And it was largely because of K Blair Walsh, whose leg strength was on full display. Of the kicks I saw, Walsh booted touchbacks on six of six tries, with two of those kickoffs flying over the goal post and through the uprights.
Walsh also ended practice on a solid note, hitting a 43-yard FG to close the final period.
Fans have expressed concern to me about the potential for Walsh to struggle on FG accuracy during his rookie season. Nothing that I’ve seen suggest Walsh will have that struggle, but even if he does I expect the increase in field position the defense will see this year because of Walsh’s touchbacks will counterbalance the loss in points from missed FGs. The Vikings ranked 31st in opponents’ drive start last season (24.4-yardline), and that statistic will only improve for the Vikings this season with Walsh in the fold. Missed FGs show up in the stat sheet and are directly reflected on the scoreboard, while average drive start for your opponent is a much more subtle influence. But both are equally important to the outcome of a game, and Walsh has shown that he has the ability to improve the Vikings in both areas.
Tags: Audie Cole, Blair Walsh, Chad Greenway, Chris Cook, Christian Ponder, Derrick Coleman, Ernest Owusu, Everson Griffen, Jasper Brinkley, John Carlson, Jordan Todman, Kyle Rudolph, Letroy Guion, Lex Hilliard, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Ryan D'Imperio
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A big part of training camp each year is watching position battles unfold and, ultimately, become settled as teams prepare for the upcoming season. One big – literally and figuratively – position battle for the Vikings in this year’s camp is at DT, where Kevin Williams has a hold of one starting position and no one has a handle on the other.
At least that was the thinking heading into training camp. A few days into the action, and it looks like there’s an early leader.
“Letroy (Guion) has been one that has been phenomenal in camp,” Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams said on Tuesday. “It may not seem to the naked eye, but there are some (film) clips of him just getting off blocks, running to the ball and pursuing. Day two he made a play outside of the numbers running to the football, so we are very pleased with him and we’re waiting to see how Fred (Evans) does.”
Evans has been a solid reserve for the Vikings since he joined the team in 2007. Guion was a 5th-round pick in 2008 and has progressed to the point now that he’s the early favorite to earn a starting job at DT in 2012. Other DTs on the Vikings roster competing for roster spots include undrafted college free agents Chase Baker and Tydreke Powell and second-year player Christian Ballard. While Williams pointed to Guion as one individual who is standing out early in camp, the Vikings new defensive boss also stressed that the entire group’s performance is important.
“Keep them fresh, keep them running so they can make plays,” Williams said. “When we’re at the end of the ballgame and the game is on the line, we have to close it out. It’s just that at the end, we want the guys fresh and we want to close it out. That is game-specific and season-specific so at the end of the year, we don’t have a guy that has 1,000 reps under his belt, we want guys to be fresh so that when playoffs come down the line, we’re ready to hunt.”
Tags: Alan Williams, Letroy Guion, Verizon Vikings Training Camp
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 31 Comments »
There are many reasons to make the trek to Mankato, Minnesota for 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. And now Verizon Wireless has added yet another. Verizon Wireless announced Monday that it has activated the nation’s largest 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at Minnesota State University, Mankato and within the city of Mankato for the Vikings three-week stay at training camp.
In a news release, Verizon Wireless stated that residents and visitors to the area with 4G LTE smartphones, jetpacks and tablets will be able to take advantage of speeds up to 10 times faster than the company’s 3G network. In real-world, fully-loaded network environments, 4G LTE users should experience average data rates of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink.
“We wanted to give Vikings fans a preview of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network while visiting training camp for streaming video, downloading files, uploading pictures and so much more, at consistently reliable fast data speeds,” said Seamus Hyland, president-Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “Mankato residents can also experience the difference our high-speed broadband network makes with their smartphones and other devices.”
Verizon Wireless introduced the globe’s first large-scale 4G LTE network on Dec. 5, 2010, (including Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn.) and has been rapidly building out its network, now covering 337 markets across the country. The company is on track to meet its goal of covering more than 400 U.S. markets by the end of 2012. The company will continue to work on optimizing the network in the Mankato area and service will not be continuous until the official market launch with a larger coverage area later this year.
Tags: 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »