Notebook: Vikings uncertain of progress

The Vikings are trying to get a new offense installed, but it won't be complete by the preseason opener on Saturday. With no offseason practices and new personnel and schemes, camp installation is progressing slowly.

Injuries, the NFL lockout and a new system have left the Vikings unsure of just how much progress they've made after more than a week of training camp.

On Tuesday with breezy conditions, the quarterbacks struggled with accuracy and weren't helped when a few receivers dropped passes. Overall, however, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has seen progress.

"I think the guys are starting to get better each day. They are starting to absorb the concepts and the techniques that we're teaching. They haven't had a lot of time. They've acknowledged that," Musgrave said. "They did a super job of getting better every day, focusing on an area of improvement every day and then just going out there and not mindlessly going through practice."

Of course, when it comes to training-camp practices, the offense's failings are the defense's gains.

"Had a great day today, a great coaching day. Had a lot of base calls, working on fundamentals and techniques," defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said. "… Guys are playing hard right now, both sides of the ball. Happy to especially see our young guys playing and playing hard."

It is the young guys that will see the majority of playing time Saturday night for the preseason opener in Tennessee. Coaches haven't finalized plans on playing time, but starters typically get a series or two in the preseason opener before giving way to the second- and third-teamers.

Besides the coordinators being new to their posts, the Vikings also have a new starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, and a new backup, rookie Christian Ponder. And, like every team in the league, they weren't allowed any offseason practices to start putting it together.

"This is definitely not normal. It's uncharted territory, but I think Leslie's done a fantastic job of orchestrating this camp with his meetings, with the way we've gone through walk-throughs," Musgrave said. "The practices are structured where we're covering each and every situation. The players feel prepared. We feel prepared as coaches. We're just scratching the surface, in terms of having enough turns at our place where we're precise and goo d at them. That's what preseason is for, we're going to want to get more and more turns at our place so that by the time Sept. 11 gets here and San Diego, we have some skill at those techniques."

Musgrave is in a particularly difficult position. While Pagac is keeping essentially the same defensive system and bringing a bit of a more aggressive attitude to it, Musgrave is left to install a new offense with new players at key positions like quarterback and left tackle.

Getting the complete offense installed probably won't happen for a couple weeks yet.

"I think we'll continue through the month of August, probably between the first and second preseason games. … We'll start to really talk about somewhat of a honed down ready list for the preseason game on Saturday in Nashville," Musgrave said.

NOTES

  • Anthony Herrera (knee), Tyrell Johnson (hamstring) and Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) sat out of Tuesday morning's practice. Simeon Castille (unspecified) was limited and worked on the side field. Adrian Awasom (illness), Percy Harvin (ribs) and Steve Hutchinson (pectoral/shoulder) returned to practice for the full-pads session.

  • Cornerback Marcell Gipson remained away from camp while dealing with the death of his grandmother and was released Tuesday.

  • When Herrera returns to action he will have to earn back his starting spot, according to Musgrave. Chris DeGeare has been filling that spot while Herrera continues to recover from his ACL surgery.

  • Rookie DeMarcus Love saw some action at left guard after spending the majority of camp to date at left tackle.

  • The Vikings had one set that used three tight ends on the field at once.

  • Linebacker Chad Greenway intercepted a McNabb pass when the receiver slipped and fell.

  • Linebacker Jonathan Gilmore dropped a would-be interception from McNabb when he let it go behind his hands.

  • Linebacker Heath Farwell also nearly had an interception but couldn't come up with the diving catch.


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  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Injuries, the NFL lockout and a new system have left the Vikings unsure of just how much progress they've made after more than a week of training camp. On Tuesday with breezy conditions, the quarterbacks struggled with accuracy and weren't helped when a few receivers dropped passes. Overall, however, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has seen progress. \"I think the guys are starting to get better each day. They are starting to absorb the concepts and the techniques that we're teaching. They haven't had a lot of time. They've acknowledged that,\" Musgrave said. \"They did a super job of getting better every day, focusing on an area of improvement every day and then just going out there and not mindlessly going through practice.\" Of course, when it comes to training-camp practices, the offense's failings are the defense's gains. \"Had a great day today, a great coaching day. Had a lot of base calls, working on fundamentals and techniques,\" defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said. \"… Guys are playing hard right now, both sides of the ball. Happy to especially see our young guys playing and playing hard.\" It is the young guys that will see the majority of playing time Saturday night for the preseason opener in Tennessee. Coaches haven't finalized plans on playing time, but starters typically get a series or two in the preseason opener before giving way to the second- and third-teamers. Besides the coordinators being new to their posts, the Vikings also have a new starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, and a new backup, rookie Christian Ponder. And, like every team in the league, they weren't allowed any offseason practices to start putting it together. \"This is definitely not normal. It's uncharted territory, but I think Leslie's done a fantastic job of orchestrating this camp with his meetings, with the way we've gone through walk-throughs,\" Musgrave said. \"The practices are structured where we're covering each and every situation. The players feel prepared. We feel prepared as coaches. We're just scratching the surface, in terms of having enough turns at our place where we're precise and goo d at them. That's what preseason is for, we're going to want to get more and more turns at our place so that by the time Sept. 11 gets here and San Diego, we have some skill at those techniques.\" Musgrave is in a particularly difficult position. While Pagac is keeping essentially the same defensive system and bringing a bit of a more aggressive attitude to it, Musgrave is left to install a new offense with new players at key positions like quarterback and left tackle. Getting the complete offense installed probably won't happen for a couple weeks yet. \"I think we'll continue through the month of August, probably between the first and second preseason games. … We'll start to really talk about somewhat of a honed down ready list for the preseason game on Saturday in Nashville,\" Musgrave said.
  • Anthony Herrera (knee), Tyrell Johnson (hamstring) and Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) sat out of Tuesday morning's practice. Simeon Castille (unspecified) was limited and worked on the side field. Adrian Awasom (illness), Percy Harvin (ribs) and Steve Hutchinson (pectoral/shoulder) returned to practice for the full-pads session.
  • Cornerback Marcell Gipson remained away from camp while dealing with the death of his grandmother and was released Tuesday.
  • When Herrera returns to action he will have to earn back his starting spot, according to Musgrave. Chris DeGeare has been filling that spot while Herrera continues to recover from his ACL surgery.
  • Rookie DeMarcus Love saw some action at left guard after spending the majority of camp to date at left tackle.
  • The Vikings had one set that used three tight ends on the field at once.
  • Linebacker Chad Greenway intercepted a McNabb pass when the receiver slipped and fell.
  • Linebacker Jonathan Gilmore dropped a would-be interception from McNabb when he let it go behind his hands.
  • Linebacker Heath Farwell also nearly had an interception but couldn't come up with the diving catch.
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