Vikings Sign Sapp, Place Winfield On Reserve/Injured

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 16, 2011 – 12:04 pm

The Vikings made a pair of roster moves on Wednesday as they prepare to face the Oakland Raiders at Mall of America Field this Sunday.

CB Antoine Winfield has been placed on the Reserve/Injured list after fracturing his clavicle in Monday night’s game. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said Winfield will undergo surgery on Wednesday.

To fill the open roster spot, the Vikings signed CB Benny Sapp. Prior to the 2010 season, the Vikings traded Sapp to the Miami Dolphins for WR Greg Camarillo in a move that improved each team’s depth at a position of need. Sapp, 5-10, 190 pounds, is an 8-year veteran out of Northern Iowa and knows Frazier’s defensive system well.

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A Few Thoughts On Sapp-For-Camarillo Trade

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 26, 2010 – 6:20 am

After disappointing news that WR Sidney Rice could be sideline for 8 weeks or even more after undergoing hip surgery earlier in the week, the Vikings weren’t reduced to licking their wounds or curling over in the fetal position. Instead, the team has aggressively addressed the problem by signing veteran Javon Walker and trading for 5th-year player Greg Camarillo.

Camarillo immediately bolsters the talent level and depth of the Vikings WR corps. The 6-1, 190-pound WR out of Stanford is a versatile player who can lineup in the slot or out wide. According to the website footballoutsiders, Camarillo was targeted 73 times in 2009 with 50 receptions and 0 drops. Camarillo, a smart player, has good but not great quickness and speed and he’s also been productive over the past 2 seasons, hauling in 105 catches in that time with an 11.1-yard per catch average.

Time will tell exactly how the Vikings use him, but by all appearances he seems to be a prototypical possession receiver – versatile with great hands and a history of producing. He’s a nice addition for the Vikings.

The addition of Camarillo comes at the expense of CB Benny Sapp, who had been with the club over the past 2 seasons and played well during his time with the Vikings. When CB Antoine Winfield was sidelined last season with a foot injury, it was Sapp who stepped in and played capably. In total, Sapp played in 30 games for the Vikings with 11 starts and tallied 59 tackles, 2 INTs and 2 forced fumbles in that time.

“Benny was a good player for us,” Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday. “He did a great job while he was here. He helped us out down the stretch a year ago. Wish him the best with his new team, wish him the best.”

But while the Vikings depth at WR was in question, depth at CB was not. And that’s why Sapp was dealt. Although starter Cedric Griffin is coming back from a knee injury, Winfield appears to be in top form and a trio of other CBs – Asher Allen, Chris Cook and Lito Sheppard – are vying for playing time. Sapp was by no means a front runner among the CB group and he actually missed extensive time during the early part of training camp due to dehydration.

No word yet on when Camarillo will join the Vikings or what jersey number he’ll wear. His contract runs through the 2011 season.

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Pending Physical, Vikings Acquire WR Camarillo

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 25, 2010 – 1:57 pm

The Vikings signed free agent WR Javon Walker on Tuesday and on Wednesday they made another move to bolster the team’s depth at WR by sending CB Benny Sapp to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for WR Greg Camarillo. The trade has been agreed to by both Miami and the Vikings but the completion of the deal is contingent on players taking and passing physical examinations.

We’ll provide confirmation when the deal is officially complete.

Camarillo stands at 6-1, 190 pounds and has been with the San Diego Chargers (2006) and Miami Dolphins (2007-2009). He has 113 receptions for 1,325 yards and 4 TDs in his career and in 2009 he played and started in 16 games for the 1st time in his career. Camarillo finished the ’09 season with 50 receptions for 552 yards.

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Last Full-Team Practice In Mankato Concludes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 12, 2010 – 11:04 am

The Vikings have concluded their final full-team practice of 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp in Mankato and it didn’t end without a bang. While there were a handful of highlight-caliber plays on the field during Thursday morning’s practice, the highlight for fans was certainly the full-team autograph session that followed the workout.

Once practice concluded, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress huddled his team together for a typical post-practice talk. Then the team was dismissed and they scattered to the fence lines to sign autographs for fans. Some players and coaches spent upwards of 30-40 minutes signing after practice, a nice show of appreciation for the outstanding crowds the team has seen over 2 weeks at camp.

There were some notable on-field fireworks as well, including INTs from CB Benny Sapp in the endzone and S Tyrell Johnson deep down the right sideline. The team simulated game scenarios it has faced during Childress’ tenure with the club, including 2-minute drills and clock-killing drills.

We even had a good, old-fashioned skirmish between DE Ray Edwards and rookie RB Toby Gerhart. There was some continuation of the skirmish, which caught the eye of fans and reporters, but things had completely calmed down just moments later. It’s worth a note in a post-practice write-up, but spending any more than 3 or 4 minutes talking about it is overkill. Skirmishes such as the one on Thursday are nothing foreign to training camp practices and they’re just as much a product of pent up aggression and anxiety for a real game as they are a product of any true animosity between individuals.

Edwards met with reporters on his way off the practice field and was grilled about the incident, but he downplayed what happened and explained those situations stay on the field and never enter the locker room.

Outside of that, it was another solid training camp practice for the Vikings. Temperature and humidity levels were high once again and Childress estimated that if Thursday morning wasn’t the hottest practice of camp it was certainly among the top few. Childress also explained that although the team will break camp in Mankato, training camp continues for the team once they arrive back in Eden Prairie.

“Training camp doesn’t really end for us,” Childress explained. “We’re right back at it at Winter Park with a little bit different schedule. The guys that don’t have a place in town stay over at one of the hotels right there. We keep them throughout the day, we just get our night meetings that we would have coming back after dinner (in Mankato) after the practice and then feed them a dinner meal. We just fool with the schedule a little bit.”

Childress was also asked about the team’s facilities at training camp, and the head coach expressed great pleasure with Julia A. Sears Residence Community – citing central air as a big reason for the approval – and also the team’s dining hall. And he also said the practice fields have continued to get better and better, including the playing surface inside Blakeslee Stadium.

Training camp is now closed to the public, but the team will hold a special teams practice this afternoon and then head back up to Winter Park tomorrow for a mock game and departure to St. Louis for preseason game #1 at 7:00 p.m. CT against the Rams on Saturday. [UPDATE: The Vikings may hold their mock game before returning to Winter Park.]

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A Lot Of Love Going Around The Secondary

Posted by cjsiewert on August 11, 2010 – 1:10 pm

A light fog and good cloud cover gave the Vikings nice conditions to work out for Wednesday morning’s practice. Believe it or not, the men in purple have only 3 practices remaining in 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp and then it’s preseason action down in St. Louis on Saturday with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m.

Just as Mike noted, a pair of Vikings marquee WRs in Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice have missed a significant amount of time throughout training camp and that has resulted in more reps for players further down the depth chart, specifically Jaymar Johnson and Logan Payne. While Harvin and Rice have not been able to make it back to the field, there is 1 defensive player who has been able to recover from an illness and make it back.

“I feel a lot better, everything’s coming along,” CB Benny Sapp said on Wednesday. Sapp suffered from dehydration earlier in camp, causing him to be sidelined for about a week.

Sapp is now in his 3rd year with the Vikings and has gradually increased his role on the team. He recorded a career-best 7 starts in the 2009 regular season along with starting in both playoff games after Antoine Winfield went down with a foot injury. The 7-year veteran has aspirations of continued growth after proving his capability as a starter last season.

“Take my game to the next level,” Sapp mentioned. “I had the opportunity to start a couple of games here. You don’t want to stop there. Whatever I have to do to take my game to next level, that’s what I did this offseason and worked on.”

Having other veterans in the secondary such as CBs Lito Sheppard and Winfield has helped Sapp improve his play, but #22 feels that it’s not just the veterans that are helping each other out.

“Everybody helps everybody on this defense,” Sapp said. “In the secondary at least, we come in the meeting room, talk, and when you’re doing something wrong, Antoine, Lito, myself, Madieu Williams, everybody helps out everybody. It’s the most competition that I’ve ever had at corner or any position in the secondary. It’s all love here, man. It’s all love. Good competition.”

The Vikings currently have 8 CBs on the roster and that number will be trimmed down to make the 53-man roster, so keep your eyes on the secondary as it will be a fun, competitive battle to watch during preseason games, which happen to start in just 3 days.

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Report: Vikings Lose Out On Free Agent Corner

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on March 30, 2010 – 12:14 pm

Heading into the 2010 season, one of the areas for minor concern when it comes to the Vikings defense is the area of cornerback.  Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield is coming off an injury-plagued 2009 season but plans on being 100 percent come training camp.  Veteran Cedric Griffin, however, tore his ACL in the season-ending loss to the Saints and may not return to action until after the 2010 season gets underway, depending upon how his rehab and recovery goes.  The Vikings brought back Benny Sapp to provide depth in the secondary, and rookie Asher Allen got ample playing time last year due to Winfield’s injury, so he should be improved as he embarks on his sophomore campaign.

According to the Star Tribune, the Vikings recently had veteran corner Tye Hill, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, in for a visit at Winter Park in an effort to further bolster the secondary’s depth.  Hill’s visit to the Twin Cities came on the heels of a visit to the Tennessee Titans, and today, Hill inked a one-year deal with the Titans, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

There are of course several free agent corners left on the market, and many NFL Draft pundits believe the Vikings could address the position via the upcoming Draft as well.

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Vikings, Sapp Agree To Terms

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 9, 2010 – 7:05 pm

In the previous entry we referenced a tweet from CB Benny Sapp’s agent saying the CB and Vikings have agreed to terms on a contract. At that point, we couldn’t comfirm the news.

But now we can. The Vikings and Sapp have indeed agreed to terms and the re-signing will likely become official soon.

Sapp is coming off a career year and his presence on the roster will be important for the Vikings in 2010 because both Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield will be returning from injuries.

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Agent: Sapp Re-Signs With Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 9, 2010 – 2:34 pm

I have not confirmed with team officials, but according to the Twitter account of Benny Sapp’s agent Andy Simms, the unrestricted free agent (UFA) CB has agreed to terms to remain with the Vikings.

The news should be encouraging for Vikings fans because Sapp played well in 2009 as the team’s primary nickel CB and he also stepped up his game and played outside quite a bit when CB Antoine Winfield was missing from action due to a foot injury. With both Winfield and other starting CB Cedric Griffin coming back from injuries in 2010, Sapp’s presence on the roster should provide some stability.

Sapp has spent the past 2 seasons with the Vikings after playing the first 4 years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

We’ll have more information for you when it becomes available.

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Spielman Talks About Vikings Free Agents

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 25, 2010 – 12:39 pm

Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel Rick Spielman sat down with Vikings beat writers on Thursday after appearing on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, an annual tradition of his at the NFL Scouting Combine. Much was discussed during the sitdown and we’ll have plenty more updates throughout the next couple of days, but I wanted to quickly mention that Spielman was asked several questions about the Vikings strategy in free agency.

Teams are not allowed to talk to players who will become free agents on March 5 because they are still under contract with another team. But the Vikings are free to speak with their own pending free agents, such as RB Chester Taylor.

Others, such as DT Jimmy Kennedy, WR Greg Lewis and CB Benny Sapp are also on schedule to become free agents in the early part of March. Because the Vikings are limited in pursuing unrestricted free agents (UFAs) due to new rules that apply to the Final League Year, it’s even more important for the team to identify the players they’d like to retain.

From the sounds of it, the Vikings will try to retain most of their UFAs.

“We’ve always tried to keep our guys on the football team if we can get them back,” Spielman explained. “But sometimes, whether it’s a financial situation or something [else], it’s not always possible. Sometimes it works out.

“All our guys that are our unrestricted free agents are guys that helped us win ballgames last year and I think everybody in the organization feels strongly about at least trying to get these guys back.”

The highest-profile UFA on the Vikings roster is Taylor, who’s been an important part of the Vikings offense since he signed as a free agent back in 2006. If the Vikings are unable to reach an agreement with Taylor before March 5, the RB will be able to test the open market and assess his value.

With that said, Spielman was then asked what kind of market environment he expects given the new rules in the Final League Year. The new rules are such that the salary cap disappears, but so does the salary floor. So will teams spend money as if it’s going on trees? Or will they sit on the money because there’s no spending requirement?

“I don’t know where the market’s going because it’s a whole new deal this year,” Spielman. “I don’t know what other teams are going to do; like I said, it’s an unknown.

“But Chester is one of those guys that we would definitely want to try to sign back if we can. Just like Greg Lewis, just like Jimmy Kennedy, just like Benny Sapp. All those guys are a huge part of our success last year.”

We’ll have more updates from the conversation with Spielman posted shortly…

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Stars Out Of The Spotlight Series Concludes Today

Posted by Ryan Cardinal on February 19, 2010 – 11:25 am

Our 5-part series recognizing 5 Vikings players who had excellent seasons but remained mostly out of the spotlight concludes today.

So far this week the series has identified LB Chad Greenway, P Chris Kluwe, CB Benny Sapp and S Jamarca Sanford as stars out of the spotlight, highlighting their important contributions to the team’s success in 2009.

To read about today’s star out of the spotlight and how he significantly impacted the Vikings 2009 season, click here

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