Notes 8/2/07: Despite Tragedy, Vikes Carry On
By Phil Mackey
KFAN dot com
football took a backseat to the 35W bridge collapse
tragedy in the minds of players and coaches, the Vikings
held morning practice on Thursday as originally scheduled.
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell talked about the
team's reaction to Wednesday night's tragic events.
light of the events in Minneapolis last night, our thoughts
and prayers are with those people," said Bevell.
"The ones that met tragedy and also the workers
that are trying to help out. Our team was shocked by
it. They were scared and nervous about their family
members, as probably everyone else was. It kind of puts
everything into perspective with the real world and
the problems they have, and us playing football."
Viking players live in the South suburbs, so 35W North
is an often-traveled road en route to the Metrodome.
Long snapper Cullen Loeffler, a resident of Eden Prarie,
was shocked when the story broke.
travel 35W North going to the games, so it really hits
home even harder," said Loeffler. "I talked
to my wife about it last night. So many times we've
gone over that bridge, and we're just lucky we weren't
victims like the other people."
concluded shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
Some players met with media members, some headed straight
for the showers. Shortly after 6 p.m., news of the bridge
collapse began trickling down to Mankato.
were on our way to meetings," said Defensive Coordinator
Leslie Frazier. "Some guys were in meetings, and
some guys were on the way to meetings when it occurred.
Coach came in and explained what happened and allowed
the players to step out and make phone calls to their
families just to see if everyone was ok. Fortunately,
as far as I know, all the players came back with no
grueling schedule of training camp has kept the players
distracted for the most part over the past 24 hours.
Reality likely won't set in until next Friday, when
the Vikings travel north from Mankato to the Metrodome
for a preseason game with the Rams.
an awful tragedy," said Loeffler. "It's amazing
that something like that can happen this day and age.
My heart goes out to all the families who lost loved
ones, or loved ones who have been displaced. The Minnesota
Vikings are behind all those families and are sympathetic
to everything that's happened."
Adrian Peterson walked off the field halfway through
practice with a hip pointer. Consider Adrian day-to-day,
but don't necessarily expect him back for Friday or
Saturday's practices with the Chiefs.
Ronyell Whitaker sprained his ankle during 7-on-7 practice.
The injury looked awful at first, with Whitaker lying
face down in the grass clutching his lower left leg.
But he was helped off the field, and he was able to
put pressure on both legs. Leslie Frazier said it shouldn't
be anything serious.
Players held out of practice: Billy McMullen, Erasmus
James, Chester Taylor, Ben Leber, Aundrae Allison
Players who returned to practice: Todd Lowber, Wendell
Group installs began at 9:20. Both the offense and the
defense worked on short yardage and goal line situations.
Four officials arrived at 9:25, clad in zebra shirts
and black shorts. They'll be calling penalties as needed
Dontarrious Thomas filled in for Ben Leber at OLB. Dontarrious
is the primary backup for all three LB positions.
On the first play, Tarvaris Jackson and Bobby Wade mis-communicated
on a pass route. Jackson threw the ball to no man's
land, and Chad Greenway knocked him on his butt after
flying through on a blitz.
On the second play, Jackson faked a handoff to Adrian
Peterson and floated a perfect pass to Visanthe Shiancoe
on a crossing route. However, Shiancoe let the ball
bounce off his hands.
WR Chandler Williams is mixing in with the second team
offense. Williams has had a nice training camp, catching
some tough passes in traffic. His ability to return
kicks may help him earn a roster spot.
WR Martin Nance has also stood out. Nance does a fantastic
job catching the ball with his hands, and he rarely
drops a pass. He was a go-to guy all morning, especially
for Brooks Bollinger.
7-on-7 (technically 7-on-9) on field 2
CB on field 1
The first team offense lined up for four plays. The
left side of the offensive line cleared two huge holes
for Adrian Peterson on the first two plays. The right
side of the offensive line was not as successful on
the next two.
DE Khreem Smith came around second string LT Chase Johnson
to tackle Mewelde Moore in the backfield. Two days ago,
Brad Childress said he likes what he sees out of Khreem
so far in camp.
On field 1, Chandler Williams made a spectacular falling/diving
catch while covered by Dovonte Edwards. The crowd went
The crowd also appreciated a diving catch by Troy Williamson
along the sideline.
A screen pass to Adrian Peterson was blown up by Cedric
Griffin. Over the past two days the offense has set
up a handful of screen plays for Peterson, but the defense
has done a nice job disrupting nearly all of them.
Great back and forth action today between the offense
and the defense. If the offense gains nice yardage on
one play, the defense responds with a tackle for a loss.
Much different than Tuesday's defensive massacre in
Ray Edwards pulled Artose Pinner down in the backfield
for a loss. With James still out, Edwards continues
to take reps as a starting DE.
Tarvaris Jackson tucked the ball and ran quite a bit
this morning. Might as well use those legs as weapons.
CB Mike Hawkins jumped in front of a Brooks Bollinger
pass intended for Wendell Mathis, but couldn't hang
on for the interception. Hawkins plays primarily with
the third team defense. He also takes reps as a kick
returner once in a while. His raw speed and athletic
ability are intriguing, but Hawkins remains a long shot
to make the team.
WR Jason Carter has a serious case of the bobbles. He
bobbled a ball over the middle on a pass from Jackson,
but held on for the catch. Two plays later he bobbed
and dropped a perfect pass with no defenders around.
Carter also bobbled a catch on an out route during 11-on-11.
With Nance and Williams playing well, Carter is currently
buried on the depth chart.
11-on-11, third and short
Then first and goal
Brooks Bollinger threw a ball behind Martin Nance on
a slant route, but Nance made a great catch in traffic.
With Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor sidelined, Artose
Pinner took reps as the goal line back. Brooks Bollinger
also took reps with the first team offense.
Tarvaris Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Jim Kleinsasser
on a play action from two yards out.
Tyler Thigpen threw a touchdown pass to TE Stephen Spach.
Spach then turned around and spiked the ball into the
ground with serious authority. Ciatrick Fason allowed
this play to happen with a great block on Spencer Johnson
to open up space for Thigpen to roll out. Thigpen
is a really nice guy too.
After practice, Zygi Wilf did some ab exercises on one
of those huge blue aerobic balls.
doing fine. He has a little bit of experience under
his belt from last year, game tested. With every position
at this point, it's continually working on their technique,
and doing it the way we're asking them to do it. When
he works the technique correctly, he does an excellent
job. When he has those moments of mental lapses, you
see a guy get by him. He needs to keep working on that
technique." - Offensive Coordinator Darrell
Bevell on OT Ryan Cook.
would say we probably hit a real low spot about two
days ago, and the guys really gelled together, picked
it up, had some conversations among themselves. We're
starting to see some leaders emerge. We're starting
to see them step out and take charge of the offense
themselves, rather than have all the coaches do it.
That's something that we like, and these last couple
practices have shown that cohesion, being able to be
competitive for our defense." - Bevell on the
overall progression of the offense.
guys are competing very hard, doing a very good job.
It's going to be quite a battle, right on through training
camp. It's great for our football team to have that
type of competition. If they both play well, it'll be
outstanding to have two guys who have the potential
to start. It looks like that may be the case. It makes
us a better team because if something happens to one
of the others, there's not much of a drop off. Ideally,
you'd like to have two guys really pushing and playing
at a high level. Right now, we have that." -
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier on the battle between
Darrion Scott and Kenechi Udeze.
think every day he gets a little bit more comfortable
at that position. Just a couple days ago he grabbed
the entire defense and he said a few words to them.
We all were looking for him to do that at some point,
just take control and he did that. And that tells me
that he's beginning to feel more comfortable in that
leadership role, which, as a middle linebacker, you're
in a natural leadership role. He's really coming into
his own in that regard." - Frazier on E.J. Henderson's
improved leadership skills.
Phil @ firstname.lastname@example.org