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Greenway, Rudolph, Walsh Stand Out On Tuesday; Other Practice Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 31, 2012 – 5:33 pm

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…

One-On-One
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.


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11 Responses to “Greenway, Rudolph, Walsh Stand Out On Tuesday; Other Practice Notes”

  1. By ozzinator on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    True freedom fighters stand and fight. Others, not so much.

  2. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    Well, soon all this conjecture looking upside down will be over and we will see this team in action. Anything could happen– it is all a guess right now. We could be 4-12 or 12-4. We could go to the Superbowl or we could be hiring a new coach.

  3. By Lucas on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t feel like Defensive field position and FGs are equally important in close games….

  4. By radzinwisconsin on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    Lucas, Beats punting from the 35 i can tell ya that!

  5. By ponderthefuture on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    excited for walsh, he should help our team out.

  6. By RichardA1 on Jul 31, 2012 | Reply

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr…where’s the man, Solomon Elimimien? some of this is just hot air, there filling us with b.s, when do we get some real hitting like Solomon can do!!! Go “D” …and our Purple Punch D, (the purple people eaters drank purple punch when they were munching on people!)

  7. By Lloyd Santee on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    Sounds like another solid practice. Keep up the hard work and intensity as we fans look to see it playout in the upcoming season. Remember, win-lose, I’ll stick with my team! SKOL VIKINGS!

  8. By rory from n.w.ark on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    WALSH KEPT GEORGIA IN A LOT OF GAMES ,KICKING IT INTO THE SEATS,AND GAVE THEM A CHANCE BY KICKING 50 YARD FIELD GOALS,I REMEMBER ONE AGAINST THE RAZORBACKS THAT WAS 54 YARDS OUT I COULDNT BELIEVE HE HIT IT SO EASY….GLAD WE HAVE HIM,IT WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFF FOR THE VIKINGS,FACE IT LONGWELL TRIED BUT DIDNT HAVE THE LEG….NOW OUR DEFENSE WONT HAVE TO START OUT PAST THE 20 YARD LINE,AND WE WONT HAVE TO HOLD OUR BREATH EVERY KICKOFF…..

  9. By Woodboat on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    Amen, rory

  10. By VA Viking on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    Another nice plus with booming kickoffs into the endzone is that our kickoff team is much less likely to be injured. Looking back on the last few seasons, I can remember Chad Greenway, Cedric Griffin, and others who had significant injuries during coverage. Of course some of those injuries will still occur but they should be less frequent. I can’t wait to enjoy our improved field position while also eliminating the Devin Hester’s as the ball sails over them! Nice move by Vikings management! We’re headed in the right direction with some solid decision-making. With some luck, this team will be fun to watch over the next few years.

  11. By izzy on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    And to all the special teams naysayers. They did research on the idea that defense wins championships. They found that as long as you had an average defense special teams play had more impact on the outcomes of those championships then defense did. So love the kicker pls….

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