|Kyle Rudolph continues to impress|
at Vikings Training Camp.
The Vikings stay in Mankato, MN is over and with that comes the next phase of preparation for the NFL season; scheming for the regular season. Over the Vikings three week time period in Mankato, progress has been made and the Vikings are hoping to surprise the world. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder likes that the Vikings outside expectations are low.
"The underdog position is kind of a good position to be in ... People are counting us out but internally we have high expectations," Ponder explained. It will be interesting to see how Ponder responds to his role as the starting quarterback of this team. He will be one of the key pieces in the Vikings mission to be successful.
We will have a more in-depth look in the coming days of the progress that was made in Mankato during training camp.
The Vikings began the afternoon practice with the main focus being on the Adrian Peterson's first full padded practice since the catastrophic knee injury. Coach Frazier explained firmly to the team before practice, that hits on Peterson would not be tolerated and would result in removal from the roster immediately. Peterson hit the field and was eased back into his role with the offense and was targeted mostly through the air in short passing situations.
The offense struggled early on Tuesday as Christian Ponder finished practice completing only 9 of 20 passes in 11 on 11 drills. The offense did progressively pick up as they began to connect in the redzone. Kyle Rudolph made an excellent "jump-ball" catch over the top of linebacker Tyrone McKenzie. It was the type of threat the Vikings hope to see every Sunday in the redzone. It not only will open up passing passing over the top, but will increase the ability to run the football. Percy Harvin also added a diving endzone touchdown from Ponder to the day's redzone success. It was one of the incredible catches we are accustomed to seeing Harvin make each and every Sunday.
On the injury front, running back Jordan Todman attempted to return to the roster after spraining his ankle almost two weeks ago. He struggled miserably and later aggravated the ankle injury, attempting to make a catch in the flat. At this rate, Todman will likely miss Friday's game and is in jeporady of having his roster spot taken away.
The Vikings also announced they plan to play Sage Rosenfels as the third quarterback for Friday's game versus the Buffalo Bills. McLeod Bethel-Thomspon assumed that role in the first preseason game versus San Francisco.
The Vikings seemed refreshed in the afternoon practice today, as they understood today would be the final set of practices in Mankato. The tempo was high and the players were alert at a pace I hadn't seen during any of the practices at training camp.
Christian Ponder had one of his best practices at camp, completing 8 of 9 passes while connecting in the seam with tight end Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph continues to make dazzling catches in situations where he is covered tightly. All the succesful teams have a large tight end prescence in their offense, so this should pay huge dividends during the upcoming season.
Adrian Peterson was told today that the no-contact ordered could be lifted as early as next week. Chad Greenway had an opportunity to hit Peterson just before he dropped a pass in the flat, but he dramatically fell to the ground, causing Peterson to become frustrated.
"He was mad about that," Greenway said. "He doesn't want to have anybody let up on him. You know how he is, his mentality. But he looks good. Even (Wednesday), he's out there.
Josh Robinson displayed his athletic ability with an interception of Joe Webb during team drills. He made a split second decision, jumped the route, and flaunted his 4.3 speed to the crowd. He will be a key part of the Vikings secondary by the end of this season. I hope he develops as well as Rick Spielman and members of the Vikings believe he will.
Percy Harvin briefly went to the medical tent during practice, and was diagnosed with cramps. Harvin walked back onto the field a short time later without his helmet, grabbing at the back of his right thigh, while attempting to strech the cramp.
Blair Walsh has one of the best legs I have ever seen during Vikings training camp. Walsh hit 7 straight from 67+ yards today and he kept backing up. He later hit from 75 yards with the wind at his back. He also just missed from what appeared to be an 80 yard field goal. The ball hit the crossbar square and bounced straight up and back. After practice Walsh added that he was draining field goals from 71 yards plus, but the majority of them were aided by the wind.
The Vikings time in Mankato is over and now the team can focus on preparing for the regular season home opener on September 9th versus Jacksonville. Tomorrow we will post a recap explaining the strengths and weaknesses of training camp.
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