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Spielman Says Vikings Have No Interest In Trading WR Harvin

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 20, 2012 – 12:59 pm

Vikings GM Rick Spielman met with reporters on Wednesday to address questions regarding WR Percy Harvin’s comments from Tuesday that he’s not happy with the team.

“On everything that’s been reported,” Spielman said initially, “from our standpoint, the Minnesota Vikings, we have no interest at all in trading Percy Harvin. We drafted Percy Harvin here, he’s a key part of our organization and a key part of our football team. Any issues that are out there or are reported, we always handle those internally and will continue to handle those internally.”

Spielman preferred not to go into specifics regarding the nature of Harvin’s displeasure or the timeline of it. Spielman did say that he’s spoken with Harvin’s agent, and that Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier has spoken with Harvin.

“It’s part of the NFL,” Spielman said. “There’s always going to be some players where you have to deal with specific issues and you have to deal with them internally, get them resolved and move forward.”


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Notes From Tuesday’s Minicamp Practice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 20, 2012 – 6:28 am

The Vikings opened their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday at Winter Park, but conditions during their afternoon practice made it feel like training camp down in Mankato. The temperature was around 90 degrees and the humidity felt like it was at 90%, and when you add in winds that were gusting up to 15-20 mph with no cloud cover, it was a hot mess on the outdoor practice fields.

But the Vikings worked well in the conditions, completing a sharp practice and moving one step closer to the end of their offseason program. The Vikings have two days and two practices remaining in their offseason program, and will go through the same schedule on Wednesday that they went through on Tuesday.

Before we get to what will happen today, let’s go over a few quick notes and observations from Tuesday’s practice…

– Jasper Brinkley was not able to practice, a notable development because he sat out a bit last week in the hopes of being ready to go for this week’s minicamp. Slated to be a first-year starter at middle LB, Brinkley is itching to get back out on the field and the Vikings are surely anxious to get a look at him. Hopefully he’ll be back on the field today. Tyrone McKenzie filled in for Brinkley on the team’s base defense.

– Speaking of the Vikings LBs, it was great to see Chad Greenway back with the team and on the field. Fellow outside LB Erin Henderson also looked good, and will be the guest on this week’s Wobcast, which will be posted on vikings.com and available on iTunes later today.

– Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier brought some calm to a situation regarding WR Percy Harvin, who made comments early on Tuesday indicating he wasn’t happy with the team. “It’s not something that can’t be handled and not something we can’t talk through,” Frazier said. “Not alarmed. Not alarmed at all.”He went on to say: “I really feel like when he and I sit down and talk in depth, whatever is in his heart or on his mind, we’ll get through it.”

– Contact is still prohibited and the team does not practice in pads, so it’s hard to get an accurate gauge on many areas of the team, especially the defensive and offensive lines. With that being said, LT Matt Kalil has had a good offseason program and there was a moment in practice that really stood out to me. We often think of LTs as pillars of the offense who remain stationary and secure the QBs blindside against edge-rushing defenders. But I’ve seen great movement skills from Kalil, including a play on Tuesday where Kalil moved quickly to the second level and covered up a LB who was in great position to make a play.

– Antoine Winfield grabbed an INT during a team offense vs. team defense period of practice. Winfield was playing out of the slot and was sitting in what appeared to be a zone in the middle of the field. A pass was lofted his way, and Winfield quickly jumped in front of a route and grabbed the pass. Winfield was one of the most impressive players early during OTAs, and seeing him make plays like the one he made on Tuesday is a great site after he played in just 5 games last season. Great to have him back on the field; he’ll make a big difference for the Vikings defense in 2012.

– The highlight of the day for the Vikings offense came near the end of practice during a two-minute/hurry-up period. QB Christian Ponder, who appeared to have a sharp practice and did a nice job of driving the offense down the field, threaded the needle on a pass to TE John Carlson. The Ponder-to-Carlson connection occurred right on the goal line, as Ponder rifled a pass to Carlson in between both Greenway and Henderson. Carlson, a mild-mannered and soft-spoken guy around the locker room, came down with the pass in the end zone and gave an emphatic dunk of the ball over the crossbar.

– Adrian Peterson spent time during practice working with certified head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman on the side. You’ve probably seen the photos of him already, but if you haven’t you need to check them out. As I wrote earlier, it’s easy to believe in Peterson, and he remains confident he can be ready to play in the Vikings season opener. In comments on Tuesday morning, Frazier also remained optimistic in Peterson’s chances, saying the RB has remained on pace during his rehab. Whether Peterson will be ready for Week 1 or not remains to be seen, but it’s great to see him working so hard on the side during practice.

– Rookie CB Josh Robinson, who was originally issue jersey #31, has switched to jersey #21.


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Frazier Optimistic Peterson Will Be Ready For Season Opener

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 19, 2012 – 5:02 pm

It’s easy to believe in Adrian Peterson.

Since entering the League in 2007, no one has rushed for more yards (6,752) or more TDs (64). And soon, no one in Vikings history will have more rushing yards because he’s just 66 yards behind current record-holder Robert Smith. Oh, and Peterson also holds the NFL’s single-game rushing record with a 296-yard performance against the San Diego Chargers during his rookie season.

There are many more superlatives to Peterson’s credit, but you get the point. It’s easy to believe in #28 because he’s the best RB in the NFL and he consistently does things on the football field that cause you to reach for your DVR remote and rewind so you can watch it again.

That’s why it’s easy to believe that somehow, someway, Peterson will be ready for the Vikings season opener on September 9 at Mall of America Field, approximately nine months after surgery to repair two ligaments in his knee. Pictures like the one below this paragraph and several others in the photo gallery we posted from Tuesday’s practice also support the thought that Peterson will be ready for Week 1.

Also supporting that thought, though, is optimism from Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier.

“It’s not that far out anymore but we’ve talked about some scenarios and gone through some what-ifs,” Frazier said while meeting with reporters on Tuesday. “But so far, he’s on pace with everything the doctors have asked him to do. Just in talking with (head trainer) Eric Sugarman that even yesterday in his examination, they were really pleased with some of the things they saw. We’re optimistic that things are still on course for him to play in that home opener.”

There are many reasons to believe Peterson will be ready to go when the season begins. But it’s not a guarantee, either. The Vikings, while remaining optimistic about Peterson’s recovery, have also stressed that they’ll be cautious in ushering Peterson back to the field so as to ensure A) Peterson follows proper rehab protocol and B) the injury heals sufficiently before Peterson returns to action.

It’s too early to know what course of action the team will take once training camp rolls around. Peterson could begin camp on the active roster as he would in a normal year. Or he could be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. There may be other options as well.

Wisely, Frazier wouldn’t commit to a course of action on Tuesday.

“What we do in training camp, we’ll wait and see when we get to that point,” Frazier said. “We have talked about different options.”

However it shakes out, no one will be surprised once Peterson is back on the field creating more “Did you see that?!” moments.


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Mind Games: Jared Allen Focuses On Mindset To Remain In Top Form

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 19, 2012 – 12:53 pm

Every season has been a good season for Jared Allen. Since entering the NFL in 2004 with the Kansas City Chiefs, no player has more sacks than Allen’s 105.0. He had 9.0 sacks as a rookie, and his season-low total is 7.5 (2006), a number most pass rushers are lucky to have as a season-high.

Last year was Allen’s most productive, as he pursued and came excruciatingly close to breaking the NFL single-season sack record of 22.5, set by Michael Strahan in 2002. He tallied 22.0 sacks, giving him 62.0 sacks since joining the Vikings in 2008 and also providing for him more motivation to chase the record again in 2012.

While Allen’s physical ability is superior to the opponents who try to block him, it’s his mentality that Allen credits for his recent success on the field. A part of Allen’s mental approach to football is training during the offseason in Arizona, a strategy he honed during last offseason’s lockout and a strategy he’s duplicating this offseason.

“I’m just trying to keep that routine the same,” Allen said. “Trying to get all the extra work in with my trainers, you know heck I’m even going up to the altitude up in Tahoe. I’m thirty now, so I got to do whatever I can to keep up with these young guys!”

Allen’s training regimen keeps him away from the team’s voluntary work during the offseason program and Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but based on Allen’s body of work over nine seasons it clearly works.

“I’ve got a great (training) team in Arizona,” Allen said when asked about not being at OTAs. “It’s kind of one of those things where if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Coach (Frazier) was great, he understood why. One thing, too, is my mindset last year was so good. I was in a great mental state, even though we weren’t winning. But things were just real positive and coming off of that 2010 season where there was just a bunch of negativity around here. That’s what I told coach, too, I’ve got my trainers, everything is focused in the right direction down here (in Arizona) and that’s where I’m trying to stay.”

Allen went on to acknowledge that the team relies on him for veteran leadership and that he takes that role seriously, particularly when the team is down in Mankato for training camp.

“The best way I can lead is by being the best player I can be on the field,” Allen explained, “and for me that’s having a full offseason with my trainers and coming back [with a fresh mind].”

As for this week’s minicamp, a three-day event that began on Tuesday and concludes Thursday, Allen said he was excited to be back around his teammates and focusing on football.

 “It’s good to be back in town and try to get that offseason rust off or whatever,” Allen said. “I approach minicamp with the same mentality every year. I’ve got certain things I’m trying to work on…my stance, get-off and then you’re working on your block reaction. It’s a way to break up the offseason and get a little football in, and then get back to getting your mind ready for training camp.

“I’m excited to be here for minicamp. Get three days here laughing and joking, and then gear up for training camp when it really counts.”


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