Special Teams Howry's Specialty

Keenan Howry may have been coming along as a receiver last year before an injury sidlined him for the season, but his ability to make the 53- man roster will hinge on him winning at least one return job on special teams. Plus, get the plays of the day from Sunday morning and another kicker update.

When Keenan Howry went down with a shoulder injury in Game 3 last season, so did the Minnesota Vikings' return game. Now fully healed, Howry has looked good at training camp, fielding punts and making some nice catches.

"It's always nice to get off on the right (track), but we got a long ways to go," Howry said Sunday. "You just got to come out here and be consistent, that's what Coach (Mike) Tice always talks about, being consistent."

Howry, a third-year receiver from Oregon, was the team's primary returner in the 2002 season, averaging 22.6 yards on kickoffs and 7.1 yards on punts. Through three games last season, he averaged 22.5 yards on two kick returns and 16.5 yards on two punt returns.

"It got to the point where I was getting into the mix receiving-wise, things were going real good returning-wise, and then something freak like that happened and ended the whole season," Howry said. "It was hard sitting at home watching games and knowing I should have been out there, but that's how things go sometimes."

Howry is battling Kelly Campbell for the fifth, and possibly final, spot among the receivers, and Howry's ability on special teams could be the deciding factor if it comes down to those two for a final roster spot.

"He looks very, very focused," Tice said. "We knew he was very quick and elusive, and he was actually playing very well before he got hurt. He's another one of our young guys that has matured some. He wants the job."

No news

First-round picks Troy Williamson and Erasmus James missed the second day of practice while agents negotiated contracts with the Vikings. Tice had no comment on either player.

Plays of the day

Safety Corey Chavous put a hard hit on running back Michael Bennett during Sunday's morning practice, which featured more hitting and defensive energy, with defensive line coach Brian Baker as the vocal cheerleader, than either of Saturday's workouts.

"That was a good tempo starter for us," Tice said. "Most of the defense, for the rest of the (practice), followed suit."

Later Bennett had his moment, however, making a nice open-field move to get away from cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Linebackers Napoleon Harris, who missed Saturday's practices while attending a family funeral, and Grant Wiley each had an interception.

The best catch was made by Nate Burleson, who stretched high for a pass and came down with both feet in bounds before Winfield could break up the play.

Kickers, kickers

In what's the most scrutinized battle of training camp, Aaron Elling and Paul Edinger each made 3 of 4 field-goal attempts during a two-minute drill. Saturday afternoon, the two worked on kickoffs, with Elling consistently kicking longer than Edinger.

The team's first special teams practice was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.


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