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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Mankato, MN - Much has been said about the new restrictions that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and Players Union is putting on teams this season. With limited padded practices, the Vikings and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave are encouraging all 90 players in camp to "take a mental rep" on each and every snap in Training Camp.
"I think with the new rules we've got limited practice and limited turns," Musgrave said following Monday morning's walk through. "Every [repetition] is invaluable. We don't want to squander any rep or squander any period, let alone waste any day because it's a short window of opportunity to get ready."
Musgrave mentioned that he can tell that the players have worked through the initial soreness of coming from the offseason and are ready to work and work hard. Here is how he assessed the Vikings offense this morning...
Christian Ponder continues to gain confidence as the starting quarterback:
Looking back at the way the 2011 season went down with the lockout restricting off season programs and then Donovan McNabb starting the year at quarterback, nobody should really blame Christian Ponder for being a little flustered when he stepped under center for his first year in the NFL. One year later, reports are that Christian Ponder is fully embracing his role as the team's starting quarterback and leader. Musgrave added that Ponder is looking more comfortable than ever this season.
"If you look back to when he was here last year this time or even when we were going through the season last year and we threw him in there the last 10 games with minimal preparation, it's a night and day [difference]," Musgrave said. "It's part of the process...we'll keep working that process until we get to where we want to be. Every day is a step toward that goal."
The Curious Case of Joe Webb:
Ever since being drafted by the Vikings in 2010, Joe Webb has always been a curious case. While not gifted with top line quarterback talent, Webb is an elite athlete. After this morning's walk through, Bill Musgrave stopped by to chat and brought up the curious case of Joe Webb. "Joe is always going to look better in games than he is practice," Musgrave said. "At this stage of his career, he is not a real refined pure passer but he does have touch...Joe, like a lot of young players, just needs more and more turns so he can get comfortable and confident and execute more consistently." After shuffling between wide receiver and quarterback under Brad Childress, Webb has only been taking snaps with the QBs so far in Training Camp but Musgrave hinted at the fact that Webb's role might expand as the year goes on. "Joe has superior running ability," Musgrave added. "Any nuance plays would be [implemented] after we get through this training and preparation period of our season."
New look offensive line beginning to gel:
With Charlie Johnson making the transition from tackle back to guard, an open spot at the right guard and the rookie moving in at left tackle, the Vikings will be turning over 60% of their offensive line this season. That isn't necessarily a bad thing seeing the struggles that came out of 2011, but Musgrave reminds us that despite all the new faces, "the o-line will be judged as a group not individually."
" There are some new individuals along there especially with our rookie at left tackle," Musgrave said "Fortunately we have a superior veteran (Charlie Johnson) next to that left tackle and we've got a super center (John Sullivan) playing next to the right guard that can help him. We're hoping that that bodes well for the o-lines future.
Right guard spot remains unsettled as Schwartz moves in with the first team:
After watching Brandon Fusco take most of the first team snaps at right guard so far in camp, third year veteran Geoff Schwartz has stepped in to get a run with the first team. "He's made a great first impression," Musgrave said of Geoff Schwartz. "He's hopped in there after being injured most of the spring with his hip rehabilitation and has done a nice job at right guard there for is. The more the merrier on the offensive line." Schwartz's promotion comes as part of Leslie Frazier's plan to find "someone who can really step-up and separate themselves from the pack [at right guard]...a guy who plays smart and plays tough like we want them to." Schwartz and Fusco will be joined by Joe Berger as the trio competes for one position heading into the regular season.
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