Eric Nordquist - @ericnordoKFAN
Minnesota Vikings Practice has just ended on this hot Friday, and here are some takeaways from the activities –
Players were in pads and shorts this afternoon, and practice didn’t have the same pace and physical aspect that I saw yesterday. While there were plenty of action drills, a large focus was put on position technique. This leads up to tomorrow evening’s scrimmage/practice at 7:30pm, where everyone should be suited up.
Safety Robert Blanton was sidelined earlier this week with a hamstring injury, and now it appears that Cornerback Josh Robinson is in the same boat. Both were seen at practice as spectators today, giving them one less day of reps in defensive system. With that said, Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards was asked earlier today about how injuries may complicate installations during camp, and he didn’t seem to be as worried about it as I was. Here’s what he had to say:
“We have pretty much kept installations what it is and we kind of move forward. Throughout camp, we will still be installing. From that aspect of it we do not think that it will slow us down from there. Now, when the guys come back, they are going to be expected to know the same things. It is a little tougher when you have not been out there taking the reps at it, but from that aspect we expect them to be in tune mentally with the calls and the checks, the keys, the leads and the fundamentals of each position.”
As of this moment, I haven’t gotten any specific word to the severity of Robinson’s hammy tweak. The defense, in my above average/below expert opinion, took a step forward again. For a team that lost a handful of games last season by giving up points in the final minute of regulation, everyone should look forward to what Head Coach Mike Zimmer and DC Edwards have up their sleeves. A lot of defensive players stood out today, speaking to the goal of added depth on that side of the ball.
Some thoughts on the QBs--Teddy has been impressive throughout his first offseason and camp, but he showed his inexperience today. The one interception he threw was due to a receiver falling down, but his trademark accuracy just didn’t shine through for a majority of the drills and 11-on-11’s. From my vantage point, it looked like he had a tough time with pressure today and acting quick enough to make solid throws. He struggled with hitting receivers in stride and overthrew a few receivers in deeper routes. Cassel, on the other hand, looked much more comfortable in all aspects and had a fairly nice afternoon. So, Teddy looked like a rookie, and Matt looked like a veteran. There it is.
In watching the quarterbacks, I’m about convinced that daily critiques of their performances may lead to a bad case of analytical paralysis. Vikings fans should be chomping at the bit for next Friday’s preseason tilt against the Oakland Raiders, because that will truly be the first valid litmus test for rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Until next Friday, it will be a daily dose of comparing small details that nobody outside of Norv and Scott Turner can use to determine who holds the edge.