Training Camp: The Battles, The Rookies

The battle for roster spots continues in the Vikings' final week in Mankato. We detail the most heated (and most recent) battle, other close competitions and the take a look at how the draft picks have performed.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Darren Bennett vs. Travis Dorsch for the punting job – This wasn't supposed to be much of a competition, but it certainly turned into one during Friday night's first preseason game. Coach Mike Tice was less than pleased when Bennett shanked his first punt. The ball traveled only 29 yards and the Chiefs started their drive near midfield. Dorsch received the next opportunity, which came from the Kansas City 37, and his punt was downed at the 8-yard line. "It wasn't a competition before, but it is now," Tice said.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Coach Mike Tice said early in camp that a decision on a kicker might be made by the first preseason game. Fat chance.

Aaron Elling and Paul Edinger are going to make this as difficult as possible. Both kickers have been just about even during practices and the pair made their only field-goal attempts against the Chiefs - Edinger hitting from 48 yards and Elling from 40 yards.

  • Napoleon Harris, who has been learning a new linebacker spot on the go after being obtained from Oakland in the Randy Moss deal, is being pushed for the strong side job by Keith Newman. "I think that competition is one of the fiercest competitions in camp," Tice said.

  • Adam Goldberg and rookie Marcus Johnson are both seeing some action with the first-team offense at left guard and Tice called the competition "wide open."

  • Second-year player Anthony Herrera is challenging Cory Withrow for the job at backup center. Herrera, however, was hospitalized Sunday morning with an infection in his leg.

  • With Troy Williamson hurt, Mewelde Moore appears on track to win the kick return job.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RB Mewelde Moore. Moore had a solid all-around performance against the Chiefs, rushing for 62 yards on five carries in the second quarter and returning two kickoffs for an average of 32.5 yards. Most of Moore's rushing yards came on a 50-yard run and he completed that drive by catching a 7-yard touchdown pass. In addition, running backs coach Dean Dalton said Moore did a good job in pass protection, something he struggled with as a rookie last season. About the only downside for Moore came when his helmet popped off and he was poked in the eye.

    ROOKIE REPORT: WR Troy Williamson (seventh overall) should return this week from the soft tissue injury he suffered near his right ankle last week. Williamson had been used with the second team before he was hurt; his best training-camp performance came during the Tuesday night scrimmage in which he was hurt. With Kelly Campbell having been slowed by a quadriceps injury, Williamson had an excellent chance to move to No. 4 on the depth chart if he had remained healthy.

  • DE Erasmus James signed a five-year contract after missing the first 19 practices while the deal was negotiated. If James had arrived on time, he would have been a starter at left end in passing situations and challenged right end Darrion Scott for the No. 1 job.

  • Second-round pick Marcus Johnson, who began camp working as a backup at right tackle, was switched to left guard to provide competition for Adam Goldberg. That is a clear sign the Vikings have confidence in the health of right tackle Mike Rosenthal, who broke his foot early last season

  • S Dustin Fox, a third-round selection, remains out as he recovers from a fractured left arm suffered early in camp.

  • RB Ciatrick Fason (fourth round) had a solid debut against Kansas City, rushing for 55 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.

  • DT C.J. Mosley (sixth round) has made no impact in camp and is running with the third team.

  • CB Adrian Ward (seventh round) tied for second with three tackles versus Kansas City and is seeing time with the second team in the nickel because of injuries to defensive backs.


  • TE Richard Angulo (strained left shoulder) is day-to-day.

  • WR Kelly Campbell (strained right quadriceps) aggravated his injury in pregame warm-ups Friday and a date for his return is undetermined.

  • S Dustin Fox (fractured left arm) will miss three to five weeks.

  • CB Ken Irvin (right shoulder) is day-to-day.

  • CB Fred Smoot (right knee) is day-to-day.

  • WR Troy Williamson (impingement of the soft tissue near his right ankle) is day-to-day.

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