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Studwell To Be Honored, Morning Practice Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 10, 2009 – 1:44 pm

After a day off on Sunday, the Vikings hit the practice fields at 9:00 this morning in full pads. Another healthy crowd showed up to watch training camp on Monday morning, continuing what has been an excellent fan turnout at this year’s camp. Jerry Burns and some of his family were guests of the Vikings this morning.

Following the morning practice, Vikings ownership met with Scott Studwell and it was later announced that Studwell will join the Vikings Ring of Honor this season, becoming the 18th individual to receive the honor.

A few other notes from practice…

– Vikings defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell met with the media following practice. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress did not meet with the media as originally planned, but will do so tomorrow.

– A large contingent of the Vikings ownership group is in town for their annual ownership retreat.

– It was a physical practice this morning. The team was in full pads for the 3rd time and worked on situations such as blitz, goal line, short-yardage and 3rd downs, among others.

– One consecutive plays during the 9-on-7 inside run drill of practice, LB E.J. Henderson burst through the middle to stop RB Adrian Peteson in the backfield. On the next play, Peterson took the handoff, put his head down and bulled his way through the pile for a significant gain.

– Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen was in Mankato broadcasting his 9-12 radio show on Am 1130 KFAN. He broadcasts from training camp regularly when the Vikings are in Mankato.

– Sidney Rice continued to make outstanding catches this morning, grabbing one during goal line work that wowed everyone in attendance.


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Jackson Back on the Practice Field

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 1:18 pm

Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson was back on the practice field working with his teammates during this morning’s practice. He continues to recover from a knee injury suffered a few days back and looked solid while participating in individual, position, group and team drills.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell met with the media following this morning’s practice and he said Jackson looked fine. Asked when Jackon would be back practicing with the team full-time, Bevell deferred head coach Brad Childress and the training staff.

Today’s work involved 2-minute situations and a few more 3rd down scenarios. Bevell said the team is “competing hard and doing a nice job” but also that there are “still some wheels spinning in those minds.”

A few highlights from this morning’s action included an interception in the endzone by S Husain Abdullah and then 2 solid rushes in 3 plays from DEs Jared Allen and Ray Edwards.

The Vikings will work for a little more than an hour this afternoon and then head back for meetings. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is in Mankato right now as part of his “Mort Goes To Camp” tour. He filmed bits with P Chris Kluwe, coach Childress, and also a group comprised of Jared Allen, Heath Farwell and Chad Greenway. Some very funny stuff was produced and you’ll be able to see it on tonight’s SportsCenter.


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Vikings Add RB Antone Smith

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 11:42 am

The release of WR Aundrae Allison yesterday created 1 open roster spot for the Vikings. The club filled that spot today by signing rookie RB Antone Smith, giving the Vikings 80 players now on the roster.

Smith played collegiately at Florida State and was with the Detroit Lions briefly before signing with the Vikings. According to this article in the Palm Beach Post, Smith ran the 40-yard dash at a pro day in a blazing 4.32 seconds. That surely caught the eye of many scout that afternoon.

With the Vikings, Smith will wear the #35 and join a RB stable that includes Kahlil Bell, Ian Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and Albert Young. I was unable to be at Darrell Bevell’s press conference after this morning’s practice, but we’ll be sure to pass along any feedback the Vikings offensive coordinator may have had regarding the team’s newest RB.


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A Busy Day Ahead at Vikings Training Camp

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 5, 2009 – 8:15 am

The Vikings have a busy Day 6 of training camp ahead. Two practices are scheduled for the day, plus both ESPN and NFL.com are here to take care of TV production issues. Add to that the regular daily grind of interviews and press conferences, on top of a couple of national reporters who will be here today, and you’ve got a busy day.

Immediately following this morning’s practice, I am conducting a Q&A session with Antoine Winfield in the VIP tent. So an update from the morning practice will appear on this blog a little later than usual, but it will eventually be here nonetheless.

The questions keep piling into the vikings.com Mailbag, so thanks for that. Remember, we can’t post every question in the mailbag feature, but we will answer every email that comes in. You can send your questions/comments to the mailbag by emailing me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net.

Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will meet with the media following this morning’s practice, so stay tuned to vikings.com to watch that in on-demand format and also to read notes from this morning’s practice. That’s it for now, but I’ll be back in a while with more updates.


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More Than An Insurance Policy

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2009 – 7:54 am

We had a story yesterday on vikings.com about the greatness of RB Adrian Peterson. While there’s no denying the invaluable role Peterson plays on the Vikings, there’s another RB on the Vikings roster who is relied upon in a significant manner.

Chester Taylor was acquired via free agency in 2006 and in his 1st season with the Vikings he helped set a tone in the run game that would eventually lead to the Vikings offensive identity. But now with Peterson leading the charge out of the backfield, Taylor’s role has morphed into one where he is the jack of many trades.

The area where Taylor has been the most valuable over the past 2 seasons has been on 3rd downs.

“We’re comfortable with Adrian Peterson, don’t get me wrong. But I would think you would say Chester Taylor did an outstanding job in that role as our third down back,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He scored a lot of touchdowns and converted a lot of third downs and what that does is save Adrian for some of those other downs.”

Taylor has even ventured into the special teams arena, returning 10 kicks in 2008 for a 23.4-yard average.

When you think of the Vikings offensive weapons, Peterson is obviously the 1st name that comes to mind, probably followed by other names such as Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin. But Bevell knows that Taylor is another one of those weapons.

“We have a Chester Taylor. You might as well use him,” Bevell said. “You’re going to have a Percy Harvin, you got (Visanthe) Shiancoe, you got Bernard and you have to find ways to get those playmakers the ball.”


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Day 2 Underway

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 11:52 am

The Vikings hit the field at 9:00 again this morning for practice #3 as they kicked off Day 2 of training camp. While the conditions where nearly ideal yesterday, the wind was wipping and temperatures were just barely above 60 degrees this morning. The Vikings will practice under the lights inside of Blakeslee Stadium tonight from 7-9:15, so hopefully weather conditions improve.

The main story coming out of this morning’s practice is QB Tarvaris Jackson, who was injured (leg) during an 11-on-11 activity when DT Letroy Guion fell into him. Jackson was on the groud for a moment being looked at by the trainer and doctor, and then he got up and walked off the field under his own power. There is no update on his condition, but as soon as there is official word from the team, we’ll let you know.

There was plenty of action before and after Jackson’s injury, though. The one observation I had from today’s action is that the defense looks very live so far in camp. I mentioned yesterday on the blog that LBs Jasper Brinkley and Heath Farwell flashed during the 9-on-7 inside running drill, and it was a handful of defensive players who shined again today.

Brinkley put a good, clean hit on WR Aundrae Allison at one point, causing an ovataion from his defensive teammates. LB David Herron also gave TE Visanthe Shiancoe a little business during 7-on-7 drills. CBs Marcus McCauley and Benny Sapp both had nice pass break ups and then there was a pretty good collision between Shiancoe and a few defenders, also during 7-on-7 work.

Given the early juncture of camp and also the fact that teams are trying to avoid injuries, Vikings defenders aren’t being irresponsible while making these plays. They are just good football plays that are going to happen when 22 professional athletes put on a bunch of pads and helmets and play the sport they love.

But today’s practice wasn’t a wash at all for the offense. While it’s typcial for offenses to come along a little slower than defenses in training camp, the Vikings offense did regroup in the 2nd half of practice this morning and perform well during the “special categories” portion of practice.

From what I could glean today, the special category was 3rd downs. There were plenty of instances where the offense picked up 1st downs in 3rd-and-medium situations, including a couple of nice catches by WR Bobby Wade from Sage Rosenfels. WR Darius Reynaud also was able to haul in a few 1st-down receptions.

Prior to Jackson leaving practice, I can report that the 1st team reps have truly been split evenly between #7 and Rosenfels. There are times when Jackson has taken 1st team reps in offense-only drills or position drills, but then Rosenfels usually takes the 1st team reps in 11-on-11 work. And that scenario has also been flipped, where Jackson has been with the 1st team in 11-on-11 work and Rosenfels had the 1st team snaps in positional drills and offense-only work.

Both defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spoke to the media after practice, so we’ll have several more updates later right here on the vikings.com Blog. Be sure to keep checking back here to stay current on all Vikings training camp news.


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