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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Mankato, MN - Kicking off the second week of Training Camp 2012, the Minnesota Vikings are preparing to strap on the pads for the first time this afternoon.
"I think all of our guys are anxious to put the pads on and get started in earnest with what we have to get done at training camp," coach Leslie Frazier said after the team's morning walkthrough.
Temperatures for the morning session registered right around 85 degrees. When the team puts on the pads at 2:45, the heat index will be right around 95 degrees!
Due to the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed by the NFL and the Players Association, heavy restrictions are in place to prevent teams from practicing too hard, too often and too long during training camp. One of those restrictions has shaped this year's morning walkthroughs and afternoon practices by cutting two-a-day practice sessions while another restriction monitors the amount of time players spend in full pads during Training Camp.
"It's something that every team in our league is dealing with," Frazier said Monday. "You have to adjust and get the work in that you need to get in...You have to try to figure out ways to be creative in some of the drills that you do to try and evaluate [the players]. The preseason games really become more of a premium from an evaluation standpoint."
Frazier said that they will eventually open up the padded practices allowing players to take a tackle to the ground. As for Monday's initial padded practice, players will be live on the line but are instructed to not take tackles to the ground.
The players themselves, they seem to be itching to put the pads on and start making contact of any kind.
"I forgot what it's like to put pads on," rookie lineman Matt Kalil joked. "You never get into football shape until you get into those pads."
Monday will mark the first time that Kalil will be squaring off against Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen in full speed drills, a situation that Kalil seems to be looking forward to.
"[Jared's] a great player and he's definitely going to make me a better player," Kalil said. "He'll definitely make me feel at ease when game time comes because I know I've already faced the best. I'm definitely excited for that and just working with him and him helping me out to become a better player."
Not all rookies are as excited as Kalil is to go full speed and pads with the veterans.
Rookie safety Harrison Smith admitted that he's prepared for anything and everything that the vets might throw at them.
"I don't know exactly what to expect," Smith said. "When you're a new guy and you're green you kind of have to have your head on a swivel."
Well aware of what might be coming in the afternoon, Frazier joked about the rookie's on field initiation that is looming.
"I'm sure some of the vets will go after the young guys and indoctrinate them into the National Football League [today]," Frazier said. "I'm sure some of the younger players are a little bit nervous. It'll be their first time putting pads on and lining up against some guys that they've watched on TV for a number of years."
Either way, Coach Frazier and his staff begin the tough task of evaluating each and every one of the ninety players that have been invited to camp this year.
"You have to find that balance between giving them what they're going to see in a game yet not lose guys [to injury] in practice," Frazier shared Monday. "It's a fine line and everybody's going to do it a little different."
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN