Notebook: First-round defenders standing out

Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes both made big plays for the defense Thursday. So did Jerome Simpson on the offensive side of the ball.

Rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd made some big plays in 11-on-11 drills, consistently getting a push into the backfield and delivering a couple of big hits on running backs – one on Toby Gerhart and another on Jerodis Williams. His play wasn't lost of Frazier or the coaching staff.

"I like his passion," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "For a young guy, to love the game as much as he does, to have his athletic ability and how hard he works, he's one of the hardest working rookies you'll ever see. To have the talent combined with that work ethic, he's got a chance to be a pretty good player in our league."

  • Rookie Xavier Rhodes had an interception in an 11-on-11 drill on a pass thrown by Matt Cassel. When the defense celebrated a little too much for the second-team offense's liking, guard Seth Olsen gave him a shot that led to a dust-up between offensive and defensive players that was broken up before it got too heated. "That's all part of training camp," Frazier said with a smile.

  • A pair of veterans were dinged up Thursday. Erin Henderson aggravated a groin injury that had him walking gingerly for a while and Jerome Simpson went to the trainer's tent after landing awkwardly trying to pull in a deep pass during the early passing drills. Frazier believes neither injury is serious or should require either player to miss time. Both returned for the end of practice.

  • The practice started with kickoff and punt return drills and several Vikings got a look, including Cordarrelle Patterson, Stephen Burton, Joe Webb, Josh Robinson, A.J. Jefferson, Marcus Sherels, Jarius Wright, Adam Thielen and Joe Webb. Without question, Patterson and Jefferson looked the most impressive, hitting the hole with authority.

  • Blair Walsh made six of eight field goal attempts during drills, missing the last two wide right. He got the fans involved by dropping two of his kicks into the lift truck platform where practice is filmed and bouncing another off the facing of it.

  • Greg Childs worked out on the side at practice. It has been almost a year since he tore both patellar tendons in his knees during the team's night scrimmage at Blakeslee Field last August.

  • Simpson was the most impressive receiver of the day, making three acrobatic catches to get the crowd involved in the action.

  • The crowd at practice session was an overflow crowd that was standing room only throughout the practice. The Vikings reported it at 6,600.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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