StarTribune.com

July 2006


Clouds provide relief

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

While the heat remained an issue as the Vikings rookies and selected veterans took part in training-camp practice Saturday morning, a cloud cover made it a bit more bearable than Friday.

The pace of the practices remained slow — and that’s being kind — as the coaching staff attempts to do some last-minute teaching before veterans arrive on Sunday.

One of the few interesting things so far has been watching the installation of the West Coast offense. There have been plenty of dropped passes and balls that missed the mark in the opening three practices. The reason appears to be timing, which is key in this system. Receivers need to get used to running quick routes and then having the ball right there when they turn. For guys like Troy Williamson it’s going to take some time to adjust to this. Expect the veterans to struggle a bit too early on in camp.

Where’s the webcam?

Friday, July 28th, 2006

A few people have posted comments asking about the webcam we have featured in years past. I’m sorry to say the webcam won’t be making an appearance this time around. We’ll be posting video reports and audio interviews (in fact, here’s a video covering the first day of drills, and an audio interview with Defensive Coordinator Mike Tomlin). But the webcam is out, per a request from the team.
– Will Tacy, Editor, StarTribune.com

Teaching begins in the heat

Friday, July 28th, 2006

With temperatures in the 90s, Brad Childress ended his first practice as Vikings coach a couple of minutes early Friday. During the 1 hour, 8 minute session, Childress did plenty of teaching with the rookies and selected veterans who are in attendance.

Not surprisingly, Childress spent plenty of time focused on the offense. The former Eagles offensive coordinator is putting in a West Coast system that is unfamiliar to many players. One advantage is that backup quarterbacks Mike McMahon and J.T. O’Sullivan both have experience with this system. McMahon played for the Eagles last season and O’Sullivan was in a West Coast system in 2004 in Green Bay.

Rookie linebacker Chad Greenway, who was one of the first players on the field Friday morning, called Childress, “a great teacher.”

Childress also has to concern himself with the heat and making sure players get plenty of water. After talking to the offense for about 8 minutes about what he wants in certain situations, Childress made sure to tell the players to get something to drink.

One thing fans need to keep in mind about Childress is they won’t be hearing from him on a daily basis. The coach talked to the media on Thursday and will talk again Sunday. Today, defense coordinator Mike Tomlin addressed the media. Tomorrow, that “honor” will fall to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

First look

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The Vikings rookies and selected veterans will take the field in less than an hour for the first training camp practice. The next three days will provide a final chance for players to learn things at a slightly reduced pace. Veterans won’t step on the field until Monday.

“What you are going to see here in the next few days – A, because of the heat, [and] B, because of the numbers – you’re going to see things slow way down,” Childress said. “There will be times where we are full speed, if you will, but there will also be walking and talking going on. You don’t get to walk and talk a lot and teach on the field when the veterans get here.

“They’ll get to hear it a different way, and hopefully hear it when they aren’t stepping on their tongues because they are tired, so that they can take it in. As opposed to drawing it and X-ing and O-ing it, you can walk it. Guys learn different ways, and this is a great five practices in three days to learn.”

Vikings sign receiver

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

The Vikings added to their already deep receiving corps Thursday by signing veteran Dez White, who spent the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. A third-round pick by the Chicago in 2000, White spent his first four seasons with the Bears. Last season he played in six games, starting three, but caught only two passes. One of those went for a touchdown.

White, who has 49 starts in 83 games, had his best season in 2002, catching 51 passes for 656 yards and four touchdowns.

No wait for Greenway

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Chad Greenway said early Wednesday that he had every intention of reporting to training camp on time and late Wednesday he made certain that would happen. The Vikings’ first-round pick agreed to a five-year contract and later today is expected to arrive in Mankato along with the rest of the team’s rookies. The first practice will take place Friday morning.

Terms of Greenway’s contract were not immediately available. Linebacker David Pollack, who was the 17th overall pick last year by Cincinnati, signed a five-year contract that contained just over $7 million in guaranteed bonuses. The total value of that deal was $12.95 million.

ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported that the four-year contract the Vikings gave second-round quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is worth between $2.7 and $2.8 million

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