OpinionTraining Camp

The Champs and Chumps of Vikings Camp so Far

Four days into Minnesota Vikings training camp and there is already plenty to talk about. There have already been a few fights, head coach Mike Zimmer has been cussing out his players, and there was even a rain delay.

Minnesota gets the day off today from camp and then it is four straight days of practice until the team’s next day off on Sunday. So let’s take this opportunity to gage who the best and worst performers of Vikings camp have been so far.

The Champs

  • Jayron Kearse, safety

In his first year out of Clemson, the 22-year-old safety has been impressing coaches with his size (6’4”) and length. Kearse practically looks like a giant among mere peasants standing out there on the practice field.

For someone who’s spot on the team was thought to be in question heading into camp, he has been playing very well against the Vikings second and third team offenses. If his good play continues, starting safety Andrew Sendejo may have a battle on his hands before the season begins.

  • Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver

No one feels bad for Minnesota that they missed out on drafting TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson and instead had to “settle” for Treadwell in this past spring’s NFL Draft. When the 2016 season is all said and done with, Treadwell is hoping that Vikings fans will be saying, “Doctson who?”

The rookie out of Ole Miss has been making plays all over the place in each of his four days at camp and his coaches are taking notice. Even when the whistle has blown and the afternoon practice has ended, Treadwell has been staying out on the field catching even more passes.

  • Jerick McKinnon, running back

With running back Adrian Peterson missing the first four days of practice with a hamstring injury, McKinnon has been taking most of his reps. If not for Peterson’s all-pro reputation, McKinnon might actually have a shot at taking his starting spot.

In his third NFL season, the young running back is looking to be more involved in the Vikings game plan. He has been taking advantage of his opportunities this offseason and offensive coordinator Norv Turner has already mentioned including McKinnon more in the team’s 2016 strategy.

The Chumps

  • Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver

It may not be fair for Patterson, but his injury on the first day of camp has hurt his chances at becoming more involved in Minnesota’s offense for this season. It is unclear of when he will be ready to return to the practice field, but he cannot afford to miss too much time when he is currently in the last year of his rookie contract.

With fellow wide receivers Charles Johnson and Laquon Treadwell dazzling fans with amazing catches throughout camp so far, Patterson’s standing on the depth chart is not getting any better with him on the sidelines.

  • Matt Kalil, left tackle

Like Patterson, Kalil is another player that could be currently spending his last year with the Vikings in 2016. The former top-5 draft pick has failed to live up to the expectations that come with being selected so high.

The Vikings brought in a new offensive line coach in Tony Sparano and a new left guard in Alex Boone this offseason to try and improve the play of a struggling unit from a season ago. Minnesota hoped that the new additions would help improve Kalil’s play as well, but it seems like it is still the same story.

  • Shaun Hill/Joel Stave, quarterbacks

When the Vikings had an opportunity this offseason to add a backup quarterback in free-agency, they did not. When they had an opportunity to add a backup quarterback in last spring’s draft, they did not.

So now they are left with two guys that would not be able to find Andre the Giant in the back of the end zone. If Teddy Bridgewater misses any games this season with an injury, do not include Minnesota in any Super Bowl predictions.

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Adam Patrick

Adam has been rooting for the Vikings ever since he saw Randall Cunningham win NFC Special Teams Player of the week in 1997. Since his career sports highlights include 3rd place at 5th Grade Golf Camp and catching a ball during a soccer game (he was not playing goalie), Adam turned to writing. He considers himself a 'Vikings Realist' as he does not shy away from criticizing the purple and gold if necessary. He will not always write about the popular topics, but his goal is to provide readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. Follow him on Twitter @Str8_Cash_Homey

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  1. Most important name being Kalil, playing arguably the second most important position on the field.

  2. Very disconcerting news about Kalil. Previous reads have indicated that they have done so much to benefit him. Better player to his right, a coach that more caters to his style of play, and still on the chump list. But, it is nice to hear that Kearse is shining! I was not happy about over looking drafting a safety early, perhaps they have found a 7th round gem?! Also good to hear that Charles is playing so well. Mmmmm…. Charles and Tread on the wings and Diggs in the slot? Could be a dangerous trio if Teddy has the time to find them. These three, Jerrick and Adrian in the backfield, no TE… Lots of options. Could prove to be a dangerous set. Sub a TE or two for any of the previous, multiple dangerous looks.

    1. Rudolph really stepped it up last year, IMHO, especially catching the ball downfield and in his after-the-catch running, so I’m honestly hoping for his best receiving year yet. Slot receiver will be a very interesting position to watch. Wright has not advanced enough to put down a long-term mortgage on the property, no matter what he and some of the fans say. I’m still hoping that Anthony Harris wins the right to start opposite Harrison Smith this year, but it’s nice to see that Kearse is making a good impression. With Clemmings and/or Sirles on the roster or practice squad, Zimmer will have more options this year if he has to pull the plug on Kalil at some point; hopefully, the cord won’t be too long.

  3. Kalil has been terrible for the past 3 years, but of course people have been drunk on the purple kool-aid defending his bad play and considering him as a starter again. TB is one Kalil whiff block away from becoming injured for the season.

  4. “If not for Peterson’s all-pro reputation, McKinnon might actually have a shot at taking his starting spot.”

    You know, it’s not as if I’m AD’s official “biggest fan,” but silly statements like this do set my teeth to grinding. Peterson led the league in rushing last year at a 4.5 yards per run clip (better than O.J. Simpson’s last three years, LaDainian Tomlinson’s last four years and Emmit Smith’s last nine years,), and scored 11 touchdowns in the process. I’d say it’s Peterson’s production and not his reputation that is keeping McKinnon from becoming a starter. On the other hand, I will of course concede that Peterson’s well-known limitations in the passing game and returned but hopefully soon to be banished again fumbling problem that will get McKinnon on the field more often this year. But with numbers like these, let’s not put Peterson in the “living on his rep” category just yet, okay?