Notebook: Vikings working wild Webb

Joe Webb's versatility as an athlete is being put into practice, literally. Webb has been seeing more time in the backfield as a Wildcat option and as a receiver, and Leslie Frazier addressed the possibilities. Plus, a look at the safety situation, Letroy Guion coming on strong, and numerous notes from Thursday at Winter Park.

Joe Webb will get a chance to work as the No. 2 quarterback in Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he might see the field sooner than many of the second-team offensive players.

Webb is still primarily a quarterback, but he has been getting worked into different roles with the first-team offense more often this week after the Vikings showed him split out wide sparingly during the Mankato portion of their training camp.

"[It's] more experimental at this point, just seeing what he looks like and whether it's something we want to do down the road," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after Thursday's practice.

Clearly, however, the Vikings want to get a look at the possibilities. While he was split out wide in Mankato, they have started to use him in different formations this week. They have lined him up as the "Wildcat" in the backfield with starting quarterback Donovan McNabb at his side and also in the slot.

"[The wildcat] is perfectly made for Joe," Frazier said. "He's such an all-around athlete and multidimensional guy. That's set up for him, without question."

Webb was asked about going out for a pass earlier this month at training camp and his answer turned out to be prophetic for the increased looks the Vikings have been sprinkling in this week.

"We'll just have to wait and see on that. Right now, just concentrating on being a quarterback, but I'm sure as we get close to the season I'm pretty sure you never know what's up coach's sleeve," Webb said when the Viking were still in Mankato.

While the depth-chart order of quarterbacks behind McNabb hasn't been determined yet for the regular season, Frazier cautioned that using Webb in other roles during the regular season would be more risky if he becomes the "clear cut number two" quarterback.

STILL A SAFETY DANCE

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Saturday's game will be an important one for determining some of the starters when the regular season arrives. One of the most open competitions has been at safety, where Jamarca Sanford and Tyrell Johnson are vying for the starting spot at strong safety next to free safety Husain Abdullah.

"You're looking for someone who can make plays, just consistently be where they're supposed to be and when they have an opportunity to get that play, make that play," Frazier said. "Whether it's a tackle, an interception, a big hit, whatever it is, when they're in position to make a play, can they make that play?"

Sanford is in line for the start Saturday after Johnson started at Seattle.

GUION GAINING

Defensive tackle Letroy Guoin could play an even bigger role this year than last, when he played in 26 percent of the snaps. With Kevin Williams potentially being suspended for testing positive in 2008 for the banned substance Bumetanide, Guoin stands a decent chance at starting some games this year.

He continues to impress in game situations, and his instrumental part in last week's goal-line stand is further testament to his maturity as a player (he also dropped fullback Ryan D'Imperio for a loss in a goal-line play on Wednesday). Frazier said Guion, 24, has matured off the field, as well.

"He came out a year early, so there's going to be a maturation process for a guy like that not only on the field but off the field as well," Frazier said of the 2008 fifth-round draft pick. "I think just being around veteran guys like Kevin and Jared and others has really helped Letroy. You can see it. Some of the conversations we have now are just so much different than say a year ago or even prior to the lockout. He's talking about real-life issues as opposed to other things we used to talk about in the past.

"It's showing on the football field. He's taking his job a lot more seriously and understanding that this is my profession, this is how I make a living, and you couldn't say that maybe a couple of years ago. But now he's getting it. He's finding out what it means to be a pro."

NOTES

  • Expect many of the starters to be limited or not play at all in the Vikings' preseason finale next Thursday against Houston. "I'm leaning at this point to not doing a whole lot in that fourth preseason game," Frazier said of the starters. "I'm hoping that we can get done what we need to get done from a work standpoint in this preseason game, the third preseason game."

  • Asked if he was thinking of sitting Donovan McNabb for the preseason finale, Frazier replied, "You been in our staff meetings? Something like that."

  • Marcus Sherels is expected to get the first crack at returning punts Saturday, but throughout the week Cord Parks, Devon Torrence, Lorenzo Booker and Jaymar Johnson were also getting work there.

  • Sherels has had an interception in full-team or seven-on-seven work each of the last three days of practice, as well as a few passes defensed. He returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown against the Seahawks Saturday, but he also dropped a similar interception opportunity in Thursday's practice.

  • Percy Harvin, Booker and Parks were returning kickoffs Thursday.

  • Rookie Nate Whitaker could his first action kicking off or kicking field goals Saturday.

  • Adrian Peterson has been looking fast and strong running the ball in goal-line situations. Peterson also drew the attention of his teammates when he stretched and made the catch of an off-target pass from Donovan McNabb.

  • Expect to see a lot of rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph in Saturday's game with the first-team offense playing at least the first half and Visanthe Shiancoe being held out with a sore hamstring.

  • Abdullah has an interception each of the last two days of practice.

  • Working in the two-minute drill, rookie defensive lineman Christian Ballard has gotten first-team work while replacing run-stuffer Remi Ayodele at defensive tackle.

  • How loose was the start of Thursday's practice? Offensive and defensive linemen were catching passes at their respective spots on the field during individual drills. While offensive linemen were working on the art of the toe-dragging catch, Jared Allen was throwing defensive linemen over-the-shoulder passes with another defensive lineman in coverage.


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    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Joe Webb will get a chance to work as the No. 2 quarterback in Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he might see the field sooner than many of the second-team offensive players. Webb is still primarily a quarterback, but he has been getting worked into different roles with the first-team offense more often this week after the Vikings showed him split out wide sparingly during the Mankato portion of their training camp. \"[It's] more experimental at this point, just seeing what he looks like and whether it's something we want to do down the road,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after Thursday's practice. Clearly, however, the Vikings want to get a look at the possibilities. While he was split out wide in Mankato, they have started to use him in different formations this week. They have lined him up as the \"Wildcat\" in the backfield with starting quarterback Donovan McNabb at his side and also in the slot. \"[The wildcat] is perfectly made for Joe,\" Frazier said. \"He's such an all-around athlete and multidimensional guy. That's set up for him, without question.\" Webb was asked about going out for a pass earlier this month at training camp and his answer turned out to be prophetic for the increased looks the Vikings have been sprinkling in this week. \"We'll just have to wait and see on that. Right now, just concentrating on being a quarterback, but I'm sure as we get close to the season I'm pretty sure you never know what's up coach's sleeve,\" Webb said when the Viking were still in Mankato. While the depth-chart order of quarterbacks behind McNabb hasn't been determined yet for the regular season, Frazier cautioned that using Webb in other roles during the regular season would be more risky if he becomes the \"clear cut number two\" quarterback. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Saturday's game will be an important one for determining some of the starters when the regular season arrives. One of the most open competitions has been at safety, where Jamarca Sanford and Tyrell Johnson are vying for the starting spot at strong safety next to free safety Husain Abdullah. \"You're looking for someone who can make plays, just consistently be where they're supposed to be and when they have an opportunity to get that play, make that play,\" Frazier said. \"Whether it's a tackle, an interception, a big hit, whatever it is, when they're in position to make a play, can they make that play?\" Sanford is in line for the start Saturday after Johnson started at Seattle. Defensive tackle Letroy Guoin could play an even bigger role this year than last, when he played in 26 percent of the snaps. With Kevin Williams potentially being suspended for testing positive in 2008 for the banned substance Bumetanide, Guoin stands a decent chance at starting some games this year. He continues to impress in game situations, and his instrumental part in last week's goal-line stand is further testament to his maturity as a player (he also dropped fullback Ryan D'Imperio for a loss in a goal-line play on Wednesday). Frazier said Guion, 24, has matured off the field, as well. \"He came out a year early, so there's going to be a maturation process for a guy like that not only on the field but off the field as well,\" Frazier said of the 2008 fifth-round draft pick. \"I think just being around veteran guys like Kevin and Jared and others has really helped Letroy. You can see it. Some of the conversations we have now are just so much different than say a year ago or even prior to the lockout. He's talking about real-life issues as opposed to other things we used to talk about in the past. \"It's showing on the football field. He's taking his job a lot more seriously and understanding that this is my profession, this is how I make a living, and you couldn't say that maybe a couple of years ago. But now he's getting it. He's finding out what it means to be a pro.\"
  • Expect many of the starters to be limited or not play at all in the Vikings' preseason finale next Thursday against Houston. \"I'm leaning at this point to not doing a whole lot in that fourth preseason game,\" Frazier said of the starters. \"I'm hoping that we can get done what we need to get done from a work standpoint in this preseason game, the third preseason game.\"
  • Asked if he was thinking of sitting Donovan McNabb for the preseason finale, Frazier replied, \"You been in our staff meetings? Something like that.\"
  • Marcus Sherels is expected to get the first crack at returning punts Saturday, but throughout the week Cord Parks, Devon Torrence, Lorenzo Booker and Jaymar Johnson were also getting work there.
  • Sherels has had an interception in full-team or seven-on-seven work each of the last three days of practice, as well as a few passes defensed. He returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown against the Seahawks Saturday, but he also dropped a similar interception opportunity in Thursday's practice.
  • Percy Harvin, Booker and Parks were returning kickoffs Thursday.
  • Rookie Nate Whitaker could his first action kicking off or kicking field goals Saturday.
  • Adrian Peterson has been looking fast and strong running the ball in goal-line situations. Peterson also drew the attention of his teammates when he stretched and made the catch of an off-target pass from Donovan McNabb.
  • Expect to see a lot of rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph in Saturday's game with the first-team offense playing at least the first half and Visanthe Shiancoe being held out with a sore hamstring.
  • Abdullah has an interception each of the last two days of practice.
  • Working in the two-minute drill, rookie defensive lineman Christian Ballard has gotten first-team work while replacing run-stuffer Remi Ayodele at defensive tackle.
  • How loose was the start of Thursday's practice? Offensive and defensive linemen were catching passes at their respective spots on the field during individual drills. While offensive linemen were working on the art of the toe-dragging catch, Jared Allen was throwing defensive linemen over-the-shoulder passes with another defensive lineman in coverage.
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