July 31st, 2008 – 9:08 PM by Judd Zulgad
RIVER FALLS, WIS. — Defensive end Jared Allen was one of several veterans that Vikings coach Brad Childress decided not to bring to tonight’s practice against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Childress didn’t see any benefit in having Allen face the team that traded him three months ago and gave him the day off. Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, one of Allen’s good friends on the Chiefs, certainly understood the logic behind Childress’ decision.
“How many [reporters] are around me right now?” Gonzalez said. “There would have been 150 people around him trying to ask him questions.”
That might be a little much but Gonzalez’s point was a good one. Chip will have much more on this in the Vikings notebook that will appear on the site but here’s the rest of the group that did not travel to Wisconsin: kicker Ryan Longwell; quarterback Gus Frerotte; receiver Bobby Wade; cornerback Antoine Winfield; tight end Jim Kleinsasser; safety Darren Sharper; tight end Garrett Mills; linebackers Ben Leber, Chad Greenway and E.J. Henderson; defensive tackle Kenderick Allen; center Matt Birk; guard Steve Hutchinson; receiver Bernard Berrian; and defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams.
The majority of the list is made up of players who are 30 and older. Wade (knee), Mills (ankle), Kenderick Allen (leg) and Berrian (unknown) were all left in Mankato to treat injuries. Leber and Kevin Williams were allowed to skip so they could spend time at home with their newborns.
Here are more news and notes from tonight.
- Cornerback Marcus McCauley, who is battling Charles Gordon and Benny Sapp for a spot in the nickel, injured his right knee during special-teams drills early in the practice. He left on a cart but said he was fine afterward.
- Defensive end Ray Edwards (lower back) made the trip, something that wasn’t expected, but only worked in individual drills. Edwards was brought off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Wednesday and isn’t ready to go at full speed.
- With only three defensive starters in River Falls (Edwards, corner Cedric Griffin and safety Madieu Williams) there were plenty of opportunities for the reserves to standout. Gordon, defensive end Otis Grigsby and rookie safety Tyrell Johnson all played well. Gordon, a corner, had two picks but the referees ruled one an incomplete pass, failing to give Gordon credit for catching a tipped pass before it hit the ground. Gordon’s other interception came off former Vikings quarterback Tyler Thigpen in seven-on-seven drills. Grigsby has done an excellent job of getting into the backfield the past two days in practice and is making a good case to make the roster. His best play tonight might have come on a run attempt by running back Jackie Battle, who was tackled for a loss. Johnson, meanwhile, also picked off a Thigpen pass near the goal line.
- Vikings fans might have been disappointed by the lack of starters who showed up but running back Adrian Peterson gave them at least one opportunity to cheer. Peterson caught a swing pass from Tarvaris Jackson and made three Chiefs defenders miss en route to what would have been a 23-yard touchdown.
- Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed six of eight passes in a seven-on-seven drill — remember Jackson was picked off twice in seven-on-seven in practice at Mankato a couple of days ago — with the only deep ball being a 40-yard strike to Sidney Rice on which the officials called pass interference on Chiefs cornerback Tyron Brackenridge.
- Quarterback John David Booty had a tough day of practice on Wednesday but rebounded just a bit tonight. He hit receiver Nate Jones in stride with a 40-yard pass down the right side.
- Cornerback Benny Sapp, who should be known as all-or-nothing because he seems to either jump a route and get an interception or have a receiver get by him, picked off Damon Huard in 11-on-11 drills. Sapp spent his first four seasons with the Chiefs.
- Offensive lineman Artis Hicks, who will play left tackle if the NFL suspends Bryant McKinnie for his off-the-field conduct, got some more reps at left tackle tonight.
- Kicker Steve Hauschka made five-of-six field-goal attempts in the practice. By my count, he hit from 38, 41, 43, 47 and 48 yards and missed from 50 yards.
- Thigpen, whom the Vikings tried to get through waivers last year only to have him claimed by Kansas City, is expected to be the Chiefs’ No. 2 quarterback.
- Word is this might be it for the Vikings-Chiefs scrimmages/practices. The Chiefs have an option to get out of their agreement in River Falls after this summer and the team is expected to remain in Kansas City starting next year.