It’s been a couple of days since we’ve had a training camp update here on VT. I’ve scoured the internet and curated it below. I will be in Mankato Friday and Saturday at Vikings Training Camp and will have more content to share with everyone at that time. I’ll also be tweeting furiously so make sure to follow me (@brettAnderson87) if you aren’t already.
Let’s get the injury related news out of the way starting with Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson, dealing with a foot injury, was a full participant today for the first time this training camp. The injury is not believed to be serious and Patterson’s absence comes off as precautionary. Still, it’s a good sign he’s back with the team.
Captain Munnerlyn, who is dealing with a minor hamstring injury, was activated off the PUP list but was not a participant in team drills. Like Patterson, the injury is not believed to be serious.
Unfortunately, Robert Blanton got added to the injury list today. Blanton pulled his hamstring during blitz drills. Zimmer did not share with media how long Blanton would be out but it’s bad news for Blanton who had been taking most first-team reps alongside Harrison Smith.
Andrew Sendejo, who had offseason back surgery and hasn’t participated in practice to date, could return as soon as Monday, per Zimmer.
Other injury casualties include Josh Robinson who cut practice short with hamstring tightness and AC Leonard who had a headache. Zimmer did refer to Josh Robinson’s early departure as “preventative.”
Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Everyone wants to know about how the quarterbacks are faring so far. Everything I’ve heard or read is that Teddy Bridgewater has been super impressive and slowly closing (bridging?!) the gap separating himself and Matt Cassel. During last night’s team practice, Bridgewater dazzled many fans and members of the media going 12-for-13 with his only incompletion coming from a drop at the hands of UDFA AC Leonard. Bridgewater’s performance earned him first-team reps in today’s practice.
Matt Cassel, who is the favorite to be the Vikings starting quarterback come regular season, hasn’t done anything to jeopardize that from what I’ve read. I don’t think he’s locked it down either, though. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner told media yesterday that preseason games would play a large role in deciding who is the starting quarterback.
Christian Ponder? Well, I can’t point to a particular piece of news or tweet right now but everything I’ve heard is that he has looked defeated and not performed very well. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy… I always have been a Ponder apologist, though.
I recently asked on Twitter if anyone had anything I should focus on while I’m at training camp this weekend. The first response?
— David Thompson (@DaveTMpls) July 31, 2014
I will provide my answer upon returning. Right now, I think it’s much closer than 50/50 than it was just a week ago…
The Preseason and Peterson
There was buzz around camp that Peterson would not participate in any preseason games. Every year we do this, right? “There’s no reason Peterson should play in meaningless games!” I hear you… And generally agree with you.
While Zimmer wouldn’t rule out Peterson playing in the preseason, he did make it sound unlikely. “He won’t get many in the preseason,” Zimmer said. “I don’t need to see him.”
Vikings fans and fantasy football enthusiasts everywhere don’t need or want to see him either. But we may…
“I haven’t seen enough of the other guys is really what it is,” Zimmer said.
Greenway’s lost reps are expected to be transferred to other MLB candidates like Michael Mauti, Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole.
Shariff Floyd has dropped some weight (about 15 pounds) in an attempt to get off the line quicker and have a faster first step. Floyd, who stayed somewhat hidden in the shadow of Kevin Williams his rookie season, is expected to play a much larger role this year as the starting three-technique. According to Brian Robison, getting into the backfield isn’t Floyd’s issue though. “He’s having a few problems with things right now,” Brian Robison said. “He’s beating guys, but then he kind of puts himself back into a position to allow the offense to possibly get back on him. He was asking me questions about that and I was trying to give him pointers to allow him, once he beats that guy, to stay beat.” I don’t know. I’m having a hard time understanding that one.
Next to Floyd is new Viking Linval Joseph who was supposedly dominating today. According to everyone’s favorite Vikings rube Paul Allen, “He absolutely is the best ‘nose’ we have had around here since Pat Williams and will be a force this season.” If true, the offseason addition of Joseph could be huge for the Vikings defense.
Reports are that Adam Thielen has been incredibly impressive so far this training camp. I’ve even heard a few people predict he will make the roster. Both Rick Spielman and Norv Turner have said Thielen is the most improved player since the end of last season.
UDFA AC Leonard has some first-team reps in a two tight end set with recently paid Kyle Rudolph. AC Leonard is considered by some to be a dark horse candidate to make the roster. Especially with Chase Ford breaking his foot and being put on the PUP.
I’ve heard mixed reviews on rookie linebacker Anthony Barr but there seems to be more positive than negative. “He doesn’t make mistakes,” Zimmer said. “He’s got tremendous, tremendous physical abilities.” That’s some pretty high praise. Most recently though, apparently Barr was a ghost to Zimmer. “The only time I noticed him he was late on the blitz and I talked to him about it,” said Zimmer (Ouch.) Barr has an uphill battle considering he was late to join the team while finishing school but it sounds like he is quickly being brought up to speed.
Zimmer is known for having a dynamic defense with a lot of player rotation. It seems that is consistent with what is being done at camp. According to Daniel House of Vikings Corner, a fair amount of “shuffling” has taken place amongst the defense. I’ve heard others say the same thing and it doesn’t necessarily sound like it’s limited to a specific position group either.