The Vikings concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp with an hour practice this morning. For those who maybe were out of town or might have missed it, Judd and I were able to tweet (is that the correct phrase for it?) from all four practices. You can find our updates here and here.
The Vikings have more OTAs starting Tuesday. They are not mandatory, but Brad Childress said everyone is invited. We’ll have more this week, but here is a recap from the weekend.
- The competition between Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson heated up as Childress said both quarterbacks had bright moments this weekend. It’s hard to tell if one moved ahead of the other, but I will say I thought Rosenfels had a very good practice today. He looked sharp throwing the ball, particularly in team drills. He threw a perfect ball to Bernard Berrian over two defenders for a touchdown and he connected with Percy Harvin on a superb touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. Both Jackson and Rosenfels seemed to get equal reps with the first team.
- The story of the weekend was Harvin. It doesn’t take a football genius to see that he is a special talent. His speed and athletic ability stand out whether it’s individual drills, 7-on-7 or full team drills. He definitely created a buzz amongst players, team personnel and media members with his versatility and playmaking. The Vikings now have two dynamic playmakers in Adrian Peterson and Harvin.
- Childress didn’t seem too inclined to add the Wildcat formation to his playbook last season, but Harvin’s arrival has sparked new ideas. Chester Taylor looked pretty comfortable taking the direct snap too, but Harvin seems to be a natural at it. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said the coaches have put in roughly 15 new plays just for Harvin, which tells you what they think of his talent.
- Antoine Winfield’s absence was the big story Friday because of his contract situation. Childress said Winfield missed all three days to attend the funeral of his close friend’s mother. Childress declined to say whether it was an excused absence. We’ll see how this situation plays out this week and whether Winfield shows up for the voluntary OTAs.
- It was great to see Kenechi Udeze back on the field after missing last season while battling leukemia. Udeze said he still has some physical hurdles to clear, but he looked extremely happy to be back with his teammates. It’s too early to even guess how much he can contribute this season, but he seems very determined to make it all the way back.
- The Vikings did a solid job filling in after E.J. Henderson suffered a season-ending foot injury, but the defense looks so much stronger with Henderson at middle linebacker. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Henderson’s return “does my heart some good.” Henderson appeared to be 100 percent and was moving around well.
- I talked to Sidney Rice after practice today and he said his right knee gave him no problems this weekend. Rice made a difficult touchdown catch on the final play of the minicamp. I still think he can be a key part of the offense if he can stay healthy.
- Childress said center John Sullivan showed that “he can handle his own in there.” Sullivan is going to be the starting center and Childress said he’s comfortable with that position. Veteran Matt Birk made all the calls at the line when he was here and Sullivan seems to be handling that responsibility well. Rosenfels said he hasn’t detected any problems or any hesitancy from Sullivan in that regard.
- Rookie right tackle Phil Loadholt had a false start penalty in team period Saturday and will have more growing pains, but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win that job. Loadholt is just enormous with long arms, plays physical and seems to move well. Loadholt and Bryant McKinnie would give the Vikings a massive tackle tandem.
- Both Childress and Frazier said second-year safety Tyrell Johnson is vastly improved and benefitted greatly from starting in place of an injured Madieu Williams last season. Judd will have more on that tomorrow.
- It should be a good competition between Albert Young and rookie Ian Johnson for the No. 3 running back job.
- Judd pointed this out today but tight end Visanthe Shiancoe just looks completely confident catching the ball. It’s amazing how much he improved last season, especially his confidence.
- I think it’s safe to say Peterson is not going to show up at training camp weighing 230 pounds. Peterson said he lowered his body fat, added six pounds of muscle and now weighs 216.
That’s a quick recap. Also wanted to remind everyone that Judd and I are hosting a live chat on Monday at noon Central. Hope you can join us.