|Photo Courtesy of Luke Inman|
The fans packed the stands as the Vikings took the field for their second day of training camp practices. A few notable depth chart changes occurred on the offensive line, but for the most part, the team was similarly structured. For more, Daniel House takes you inside his training camp notebook.
Updated: July 30th, 2016 8:35pm
Updated: July 30th, 2016 8:35pm
By: Daniel House
By: Daniel House
The fans packed the stands as the Vikings took the field for their second day of training camp practices. A few notable depth chart changes occurred on the offensive line, but for the most part, the team was similarly structured. The Vikings strap on the pads tomorrow afternoon for their first full-padded practice. It will be the first time we can evaluate the offensive/defensive lines. Not to mention, the defensive backs will be pressing more at the line of scrimmage. The offense is slightly ahead of the defense, but that could change when the pads come on tomorrow. There was plenty of action today worth writing about.
Take a look inside my notebook to find out more:
Bridgewater has a good day, Hill and Stave struggling
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got the crowd going when he found Jarius Wright for a 50-yard completion. In live action, Bridgewater would have been sacked, but he still managed to accurately place the ball as Wright beat Newman over the top. A few plays later, Teddy rifled another throw to Wright in the seam and the ball went right off his hands for an incompletion. On another deep ball, Charles Johnson nearly had a step on Terence Newman, but the veteran cornerback made a play on the ball, knocking it incomplete. The pass wasn't as accurate from Bridgewater and was slightly underthrown. Nonetheless, Teddy has been much more consistent in the vertical passing game this training camp. Teddy has improved his touch on deeper throws and showed it even more today.
In regards to other throws, Bridgewater has been extremely accurate; particularly on intermediate throws across the field. He found rookie Laquon Treadwell on a 20-yard out route to the sideline. Treadwell set up Xaiver Rhodes inside and ran a beautiful route towards the sideline. Bridgewater perfectly placed the throw to the sideline and Treadwell made a move after the catch. His worst throw of the day came when he threw a pass in the dirt to a wide-open Charles Johnson. Johnson was dragging towards the sideline and Bridgewater one-hopped the throw.
Shaun Hill had several overthrows today, including passes to several wide-open receivers. Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell both had a nice cushion on the defensive back, but Hill's pass was delivered high every time. His passes tend to sail high and his accuracy hasn't been good at all. Even without defensive backs covering, Hill was missing receivers running routes to the sideline. His passes take forever to reach the receiver and MyCole Pruitt once had to stop his route completely to make a play on the ball.
Joel Stave shows flashes, but his consistency is the real issue. Stave has trouble accurately placing deep balls up the seam. He missed Terrell Sinkfield across the middle on a high throw and couldn't connect with a wide-open Troy Stoudermire in individual work. Later in practice, Stave did fit a throw in a tight space to Stoudermire on a comeback. He fired the pass into the gap with some nice velocity. The biggest problem with Stave thus far has been his consistency.
McKinnon is loose
Running back Jerick McKinnon followed up a solid first day of practice with another impressive performance. The most notable play came on a wheel route up the sideline. He coasted past linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and quarterback Shaun Hill hit him in stride up the sideline. Early in practice, he ran another wheel route and flashed his smooth route running skills. McKinnon could be a valuable weapon in Norv Turner's offense this year. With Adrian Peterson limited, he has taken all the snaps during team work. During those opportunities, he has shown he is ready for more action.
A plethora of tight end weapons
The Vikings tight end group is easily one of the best they have had in recent seasons. Even with Rhett Ellison sidelined, David Morgan and MyCole Pruitt have flashed their talent. Morgan made a tough adjustment on a throw from Shaun Hill in QB/WR drills. In addition, Pruitt added a tough catch in traffic near the sidelines. Both Morgan and Pruitt can be weapons when they are lined up in a variety of ways across the field.
Later in practice, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater found tight end Kyle Rudolph up the seam for a beautiful pass and catch. Rudolph got a step on Trae Waynes and Bridgewater perfectly fired the pass in the tight gap.
Additionally, during individual drills, tight end Kyle Carter has shown some good hands and route running ability. He hasn't cracked through the loaded tight end depth chart, but his skill-set within individual drills has stood out.
Kendricks with a fantastic interception
Linebacker Eric Kendricks jumped a Kyle Rudolph out route and made a diving interception. He diagnosed the play and used his superior athleticism and instincts to close on the play. He rolled over on the ground and beat Teddy Bridgewater to the end zone for a pick-six. Kendricks made a very difficult play look easy. He appears to be in command of the system and is much more comfortable in his second season of action. It's clear he will play an integral role in the defensive scheme in 2016.
Waynes struggling, Tre Roberson showing potential
Cornerback Trae Waynes was badly beaten in the seam by Kyle Rudolph and was called for pass interference as he mugged Charles Johnson. Additionally, Laquon Treadwell beat Waynes on an out route towards the sidelines. Waynes played too deep and couldn't come back on the ball as Treadwell cut off his route. Later in the session, he did add a pass defensed on a Shaun Hill throw intended for David Morgan across the middle. Waynes had good position and reached across Morgan to knock the pass away. Again, Waynes is showing some inconsistency, but that is to be expected early in camp with a young cornerback.
When the cornerbacks start pressing at the line of scrimmage, it will help us better evaluate where the defensive backs are at. Xavier Rhodes was beaten a few times in drills against the wide receivers including when a dragging Stefon Diggs got a step on him. Rhodes has struggled early in camp, but there is no reason to be concerned yet.
Undrafted cornerback Tre Roberson has been an underrated player in the first two days of camp. During team drills, he had two passes defensed and was in position for almost every play. Roberson, a converted quarterback, appears to be handling the adjustment to cornerback well. His skill-set transitions nicely and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues as training camp progresses.
Kearse nearly lowers the boom
Seventh-round draft pick Jayron Kearse nearly lowered the boom on wide receiver Terrell Sinkfield during team drills. A high pass from Joel Stave sailed over the head of Sinkfield. Kearse read the play and lowered his shoulder, knocking the ball away. He slammed on the breaks as he lightly lowered his shoulder into the back of Sinkfield. It was the first time Kearse's physical playing style was on display during training camp. He is still working with the third-team, but could work his way up the depth chart moving forward.
Defensive Depth Chart Update
During the morning walkthrough, cornerback Trae Waynes was seeing a few snaps at outside cornerback opposite of Xavier Rhodes. This was the first time in training camp Waynes saw any portion of action with the first-team defense. Although it was minimal, he still was given the opportunity. In the afternoon session, he spent the entire time with the second-team.
The defensive depth chart was the same at safety with Andrew Sendejo starting next to Harrison Smith. At linebacker, Emmanuel Lamur did substitute into the base 4-3 package for Chad Greenway on a couple occasions. Lamur has such superior length for a linebacker and looks very familiar with Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme. Not to mention, he has been an integral contributor on all of the first-team special teams units.
A Few Offensive Updates
Wide receiver Adam Thielen was seeing some work with the first-team in the slot today. He was paired with Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs in three wide receiver sets. Thielen did see some action in this role yesterday, but played inside even more today. His fit in the system continues to develop and it appears he has made some strides this offseason as well. He made a nice adjustment on a pass thrown behind him during individual work and has been rotating frequently with both the first and second team units.
Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell continues to get open on nearly every possible route. His fluidity and footwork off the line of scrimmage are better than I anticipated. Treadwell's physical frame combined with his hands have been some of the most impressive attributes of his game. Today, he and Moritz Böhringer saw work with the second team while Cordarrelle Patterson missed practice. Böhringer did drop two passes, but still added a nice grab across the middle on a post route. It's clear to see his drops are a direct reflection of over-concentrating on his footwork/technique. However, the German sensation is further ahead of the curve than anyone could have anticipated.
The biggest notable news regarding depth chart changes came on the offensive line. Joe Berger saw action at center for John Sullivan and T.J. Clemmings played right tackle for Andre Smith. Mike Zimmer made it clear there would be plenty of competition up front and it appears that will be the case moving forward. Nailing down the correct mix of players and finding the best group of starters will be critical throughout training camp. It is hard to evaluate the trenches until the pads come on tomorrow, but the pocket wasn't very clean today. Matt Kalil was beaten several times on the outside by Everson Griffen and on one occasion, T.J. Clemmings had a difficult time handling Danielle Hunter off the snap. There is no reason to panic until these players start losing battles in 1-on-1 drills later in camp.
Cordarrelle Patterson (shoulder), Taylor Heinicke (ankle), Mike Harris (illness), Rhett Ellison (patellar tendon recovery), Kenrick Ellis (unknown), and Keith Baxter (unknown) all missed practice today. Adrian Peterson was still working with trainer Eric Sugarman on the side field. After practice, Mike Zimmer reported that Peterson was dealing with a pulled hamstring he suffered this offseason. He said they would take it slow but it wasn't concerning at this time. Additionally, he said Cordarrelle Patterson's injury wasn't serious. Zimmer did say it may take a few days for Patterson to return to action.
Special Teams Depth Chart (Today was kick return/coverage teams)
First-team kick return: Edmond Robinson, Antone Exum, Andrew Sendejo, Audie Cole, Adam Thielen, MyCole Pruitt, Matt Asiata, Justin Trattou, Danielle Hunter, and Jerick McKinnon.
Kick returners mixed in for both the first and second team units. Those players included: Stefon Diggs, Troy Stoudermire, and Marcus Sherels
2nd-team kick return: Jabari Price, Brandon Watts, Anthony Harris, Emmanuel Lamur, Isaac Fruechte, Zach Moore, Joe Berger, Blake Renaud, Zach Line, and Charles Johnson
First-team kick coverage unit: Edmond Robinson, Emmanuel Lamur, Audie Cole, Trae Waynes, Anthony Harris, Andrew Sendejo, Matt Asiata, Marcus Sherels, Jerick McKinnon, Adam Thielen, and Blair Walsh
Second-team kick coverage unit: Mackensie Alexander, Jabari Price, Zach Line, Justin Trattou, Brandon Watts, Isaac Fruechte, MyCole Pruitt, Danielle Hunter, Terence Newman, Antone Exum, and Blair Walsh
The Vikings will continue their training camp practices tomorrow with a 10:30-11:30 a.m. walkthrough and their first full-padded practice from 2:45-5:10 p.m.