Vikings Break Camp

Training camp means different things to different players. For some, it was the site where they made their roster spot. For others, it was the drudgery they must endure each year. For all, it ended Thursday.

Very few players will tell you they like training camp. Being cooped up in college dorm rooms, forced to practice twice a day in heat and humidity and being away from family and normal day-to-day routine isn't something most players would choose on their own.

But training camp is where careers are made and careers are lost. Many are the players who have been able to pique a coach's interest with solid play during these sessions. By the same token, it has also served as the yardstick by which aging veterans can show how far their skills have diminished.

With the Vikings' 39th training camp in Mankato (and possibly their last) completed, Mike Tice assessed the time spent in Mankato as a success -- both offensively and defensively. With Bryant McKinnie and Mike Rosenthal in camp and Chris Liwienski back to his more comfortable left guard spot, the new-look Vikings offensive line showed signs of cohesion late in camp that has everyone excited. Defensively, the addition of players like Kevin Williams, Chris Claiborne, Denard Walker and E.J. Henderson have the Vikings looking at a much-improved defensive unit that is prepared to make its own statement.

That is the beauty of training camp. When most teams break camp, there remains an optimism to the coming season. In the Vikings' case, it looks to be a legitimate reason for optimism.

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