Vikings training camp
(This is an update on the Vikings' Training Camp by Sports Editor Brian Wierima, who is down in Mankato for Thursday and Friday's practices.)
Murphy's Law was in full force here in Mankato Thursday morning, with everything which could have gone wrong -- did.
First, my live-feed Twitter was a no-go. But to my defense, neither could Sports Illustrated's Peter King, the Strib's Jud Zulgad or anyone else in the nation for that matter.
Found out later, some geek which I could slap across the head hacked into Twitter and disrupted it all day.
Also our program to stream live video was not up and running. So that was a no go.
Anyways, it still was a great day watching Vikings' practice - as always.
The two players who were on the sidelines with injuries were DE Brian Robison and RB Kahlil Bell.
Robison is suffering from a hamstring pull, thus putting him behind the eight ball in his quest to become the starting LDE opposite of All-Pro Jared Allen and his 14.5 sacks.
The pace was a bit slow to start off and a peak down at the QB's did show that Tarvaris Jackson has a better arm than Sage Rosenfels.
In fact, through 7-on-7 drills and 11-on-11 drills, Jackson outperformed Rosenfels with some crisp frozen ropes to receivers.
A highlight came on a 1-on-1 drill where Jackson hit Bernard Berrian in stride down the sideline for a TD over CB Marcus Walker of Oklahoma.
Jackson did a throw an interception on 7-on-7 drills, which was caused by some pressure in the pocket. He either overthrew his intended target, or the WR ran the wrong route.
Rosenfels threw an interception on an overthrow on 11-on-11 drills, but he also laid a nicely thrown ball in the soft spot of the zone defense to rookie sensation Percy Harvin, who made a spectacular grab between two defenders.
The player of the day, though, was third-year WR Sidney Rice.
He caught everything thrown his way. His big body is an asset in the red zone, but also for moving chains. Jackson and Rice look to have a good connection thus far, which will be needed - along with Rice staying healthy.
As head coach Brad Childress stated in his press conference, "The passing game has a long ways to go."
There weren't much rushing drills in Thursday's practice, so RB stud Adrian Peterson didn't have a lot of repetitions.
But Peterson did miss a blitz pick-up block, but he also made some nice catches over the middle.
Harvin lined up all over the field, with the Wildcat formation used on several occasions. He played at slot, wideout, in the backfield and quarterback for the Wildcat.
One formation had Peterson and Harvin in the same backfield, with Harvin handing the ball off to Peterson, who streaked around right end for a long gain.
Childress said they can use the Wildcat as an option, but it needs to produce and produce results and not just use it as a gimmick.
Chester Taylor looked in top form on blitz pickups and in the short passing game.
Rookie RT Phil Loadholt was playing on the first team and was beaten once by Ray Edwards on 11-on-11 drills.
It looked like John Sullivan is picking up the center position, handling himself well against Pro Bowl DT's Kevin and Pat Williams.
After interviews with LB's Chad Greenway and Ben Leber, both acknowledged having MLB EJ Henderson back will be a key to improve on the No. 6 ranking of the defense from last year.
Jim Kleinsasser is also happy to get his extension after spending all 11 years of his NFL career with the Vikes.
He did say it's about time for the UND Sioux nickname to go, just because it's been a controversial subject for so long.
Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are still in wait mode on their potential four-game suspension.
In the QB competition, it looks as if Jackson is ahead of Rosenfels - despite being injured the last two days.
Jackson had a limp at times, with his knee still in a brace.
But Rosenfels looked hesitant at times in the pocket, taking way too much time to make his reads. He does have good accuracy and has been hitting his receivers in stride and putting the ball in the correct spots, but it's the time reading his reads which is the main concern.
1. Some of those WR's and secondary players have matchsticks for legs. Just like thorough-breeds I guess.
2. Asher Allen has good agility and on several drills, didn't bite on double moves by receivers.
3. Jaymar Johnson can leap a mile. Good athlete, but can he hold on to a spot where the Vikes may keep 5 WR's, with Berrian, Rice, Harvin and more than likely Bobby Wade holding down four of them.
4. Cedric Griffin was back at practice and Antoine Winfield looked good playing Harvin in the slot. Shut the rookie down on several occasions with a strong stab on the former Gator at the line of scrimmage.
5. John David Booty looks much more trim than last year, but still didn't impress.
6. Loadholt is bigger than Bryant McKinnie. Vikes will have to pillars on the bookends on the O-line.
7. Sullivan was speaking up on the sidelines, good indication of being a leader, which was opened up when Matt Birk left. Kleinsasser said Sullivan is in the same mode as Birk, as far as being a smart center is concerned.
8. That Wildcat will be fun to watch. Harvin and Peterson in the same backfield? Wow...both only need a small hole and space to break free for a score.
9. If Rice can become a good WR and stay on the field, this offense is that much better.
10. Will be back tomorrow with some updates on Twitter (MAYBE) and some more pics and hopefully can add some video to the Viking Training Camp packages.
11. Let's hope for no rain...camping out and writing this on the picnic table as I type. Good weather so far.