Wallace, Rhodes battle it out on field

Xavier Rhodes wasn’t going to let the Vikings’ new No. 1 receiver catch a pass uncontested, even in a walk-thru.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the Minnesota Vikings this offseason and many people have picked them as a dark horse team to make the playoffs. All that excitement was evident during the team’s first training camp practice.

Shaun Hill is a 14-year veteran and has been through many offseason training programs. According to him, the team’s walk-thru was a faster pace than most of the other morning walk-thrus he has experienced.

“Everybody’s excited, players are excited too,” he said. “It was a lot of speed for a walk-thru out there, but that is how the fans were when I was out there from ’02-05 too. This is an exciting place to have training camp and the players feel the electricity.”

There was also a lot more competition between players during the morning session than you might normally see. Usually in walk-thru, players are only concerned about being in the right place for their assignment and you don’t see them putting too much effort into making a play.

That was not the case Sunday, however, especially for cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He was working hard and even jumped a route and made an interception. After the play you could see Mike Wallace, whose route he jumped, go up and start talking to him, but Rhodes assured everyone that it was all fun and games.

“Yeah, him and Teddy (Bridgewater) got a little upset about that, but I was just messing around,” he said with a little laugh.

Wallace also talked about the play later and you could tell that there is a little bit of a competition going on between the Vikings’ No. 1 wide receiver and cornerback.

“I was about to say something bad,” Wallace said when asked about Rhodes’ interception. “But it was great, you know, that let’s us know he’s focus on the task. He’s focused on getting better and not letting anybody catch any passes. But we’re not going for that tomorrow. There will be no picks tomorrow, we’re going to bat it down, jump overhead, do whatever we have to do.”

There is a lot of energy in this year’s Vikings team, whether it is because they are feeding off the excitement of the fan base, they are a young team eager to win, the fact they experienced winning towards the end of last season, or something else.

But now the focus will be to harness that energy and excitement they have and put it to good use on the field. If they are able to do that, then maybe they can be that dark horse team that some are expecting them to be.

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