– Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Thursday during his pre-camp press conference that 79 players reported to camp and also noted that he doesn’t expect anyone to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He said the team appears to be in decent condition with “pretty good weights,” but also said he would re-evaluate those scenarios once the team was 5 practices into camp (which will be on Sunday afternoon).
– The roster limit for NFL teams during training camp is 80, and the reason the Vikings have 79 players in camp rather than 80 is because 1st round pick WR Percy Harvin has yet to sign a contract. It’s by no means unusual to have a 1st round pick report late to camp. More than half of this year’s 1st round picks remained unsigned, and Adrian Peterson missed a few days of camp back in 2007.
“I don’t anticipate him being in, at least right this second,” Childress said. “But I know Rob (Brzezinski) is working hard with (Harvin’s agent) Joel Segal to try to get that deal done.”
– Childress took a moment to reflect on DE Kenechi Udeze, who decided earlier this week to retire from football instead of continue his attempt at a comeback.
“He’s so worried about being a quitter,” Childress said. “He’s overcome already in his young life, to be alive and thriving, it took him a while to come to grips with that. As I mentioned to you before, his Leukemia he always referenced to me as ‘nothing more than a common cold.’ Great positive attitude; as we say, nobody died. He’s alive and living and thriving. I just wish him well.”
Udeze had participated in Vikings offseason workouts and was preparing to join his teammates for training camp. But after meeting and chatting with Childress a number of times before the start of camp, Udeze decided to go a different direction.
– On the release of CB Charles Gordon: “He just was not able to overcome that ankle fracture,” Childress explained. “He’s worked as hard as anybody to try to get back, and he’ll continue to work. Not sure what the future holds for him, but I had a good meeting with him last week as well and he’s been in there every day since that surgery to find a way to fight back to the field.”
Tags: Charles Gordon, Kenechi Udeze, Percy Harvin
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Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin have the starting CB positions on lock down (barring injury, knock on wood). But a defense always has more than 2 starting-caliber CBs on the roster. In fact, many plays require a defense to have 3 or more solid CBs on the field at a time.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Vikings nickel back situation. This will be a hotly-contested training camp battle, and one that will be vital to any success the Vikings defense will have this season.
We’ll begin with Marcus McCauley. His time with the Vikings so far has been a bit tumultuous. He was a 3rd round pick in 2007 and had a nice rookie season, but then inconsistent play and injuries derailed him a bit last year. But perhaps things are looking up for him now. With Winfield absent during OTAs and minicamps this offseason, McCauley took most of the 1st team reps. This doesn’t mean he’s locked the job down or is even a favorite, but it does make sense to note who filled in for a starter.
There are 3 other serious contenders for this job. They are Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and Asher Allen. The Vikings coaching staff liked enough of what they saw from Sapp last year to bring him back this year. He was re-signed this past offseason. Sapp was an interception machine during training camp a year ago, and a similar performance this year in training camp may be enough to give him the nickel job full-time. Paymah was brought in from Denver as a free agent. He has good speed, lots of special teams experience and a big desire to transcend the role of a special teams player and become a regular contributor on defense. Allen was a 3rd round draft pick this year and was a standout during his time at the University of Georgia. He doesn’t have protoypical Cover 2 CB size, but neither does Antoine Winfield.
Lastly, we must mention Charles Gordon, who is recovering from a serious ankle injury, as well as Marcus Walker, who is one of a few young players who will compete hard to make the Vikings roster. Gordon fulfilled multiple roles for the Vikings last season before his injury. Aside from being the team’s 3rd CB, he also contributed in the return game. If he can get back to his normal playing ability after the injury, then he’s the favorite for the nickel job. But at this point there’s no guarantee that’ll happen.
Prediction: This position battle won’t be determined until late in the preseason, but right now I’m thinking Sapp and Allen will be in the mix as the regular season approaches.
Tags: Asher Allen, Benny Sapp, Charles Gordon, Karl Paymah, Marcus McCauley, Marcus Walker, Nickel Back
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 5 Comments »