Friday, February 12, 2016

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Harrison Smith was all smiles upon arriving for training camp earlier today, but the fourth-year safety is determined to improve his already impressive play for the Minnesota Vikings. After a year where he hauled in five interceptions, recorded 92 tackles, and finished second in PFF’s rankings of safeties, Smith could easily enter camp a complacent player. But after his Saturday afternoon press conference, Smith is clearly approaching 2015 as a chance to prove he’s possibly the game’s best safety.

When asked what specific areas he’d like to improve, Smith wasn’t shy, making it clear that his game is far from perfect:

“There are a lot of things. Really things in every area,” he said. “One for example would be becoming a better blitzer, getting better pressure on the quarterback when I get a chance to go. You can improve on in every area especially myself. There’s too many areas to list but definitely a lot of things come to mind.”

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Arguably, the most anticipated player arriving at Vikings training camp Saturday morning was running back Adrian Peterson. After missing an entire year on the field and sparking plenty of drama off the field, things seem to finally be returning to order as No. 28 will be back in purple on Sundays.

Hundreds of fans welcomed Peterson in Mankato with “MVP” chants, and he addressed the media shortly after arriving. Peterson said the following about returning to the field:

I feel pretty good. It feels good to be out here with the fellas and get back into the swing of things and open my mind back to the playbook and what Coach is asking us to do. It’s been pleasant.

Peterson referred to the happenings of the last year as “curve balls” and credited the coaching staff for helping everything come together to the point that it has.

There’s no denying Peterson’s natural athletic ability, and he assured the media and fans alike that he hasn’t taken a step back after missing the 2014 season. He said a few days of practice brought everything back, and he’s been mentally and physically preparing to be back on the field.

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Minnesota Vikings Training Camp kicked off Saturday at Minnesota State University in Mankato, and lots of interviews took place with coaches and players alike. Head coach Mike Zimmer, entering his second season at the helm of the Viking ship, addressed the media in the afternoon.

Zimmer echoed plenty of fans’ sentiments by expressing his excitement to have the players back together and getting ready for the 2015 season.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Zimmer said, with his always-business-like demeanor. “We have a tough schedule. Hopefully we can come together as a team and accomplish some things that we want to get done.”

The sophomore coach acknowledged the benefit of having one year under his belt and an increased level of comfort not only with being a head coach but also with communication and understanding between himself and general manager Rick Spielman.

Naturally, one of the first questions directed toward Zimmer surrounded running back Adrian Peterson and his feelings on being back with the team. Zimmer met the questions with a faint air of impatience, which isn’t surprising considering the drawn-out situation.

You’d have to ask [Adrian] those questions yourself,” Zimmer said, “but as far as myself, I think it’s great for both sides. I think we’ve both expressed our opinions on everything, and like I’ve said a million times, Adrian’s always been great with me, and that’s all I care about—trying to do the best for him, and I think he feels the same way about me.

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If there is a reason it took so long for Mike Zimmer to become an NFL head coach, Vikings fans don’t know what it is. Zimmer has a talented roster in front of him as training camp gets underway, but Zimmer recently named three of the best players he has ever coached in a video with Brian Murphy, and none of them are current Vikings… or even current players.

Who are the three that Zimmer named?

Well, check it out below or watch the video above. Your choice!

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The arrival of the Minnesota Vikings in Mankato for training camp marked what many die-hards consider the start of the 2015 NFL season. Players were met by swarms of media members and hoards of purple faithful.

One player that actually said something of significance upon arrival was second-year linebacker Anthony Barr who had his impressive rookie season submarined by a knee injury.

Barr told reporters that he is “just about” at 100% health, but will probably ease his way into the training camp activities just to play it safe.

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