Camp Continues: The Battles, The Rookies

Besides the obvious kicking battle, there are a still a few tight fights for a starting spot or roster spot on offense and defense. In addition, get an update on the drafted rookies in camp.


Travis Taylor vs. Marcus Robinson for starting receiving spot opposite Nate Burleson — Coach Mike Tice has been pleased with Taylor's performance and rewarded the former Baltimore Raven by giving him the start against the New York Jets last Friday. Taylor's capabilities as a receiver have the Vikings believing he can play a bigger role than originally thought when they signed him as a free agent in the offseason.

Robinson, meanwhile, struggled in the Vikings' last scrimmage in Mankato last week, dropping at least two passes.

Taylor and Robinson both had two catches against the Jets, but Taylor remained ahead of his fellow receiver on the depth chart after Friday's game.


  • Paul Edinger vs. Aaron Elling continue to be about even as they attempt to win the kicking job. Edinger had the only field-goal attempt in last Friday's preseason game against the Jets, hitting the left upright from 38 yards out in the fourth quarter. Edinger, however, was run into on the play, giving the Vikings a first down. Edinger and Elling have kicked well enough that whoever loses the job will certainly catch on elsewhere.

  • The competition for the third tight end spot between Sean Berton, Richard Owens, Jeff Dugan and others seems to be wide open.

    "I thought our young tight ends continued to play pretty well," coach Mike Tice said after Friday's game. "I really did. That's a hell of a battle."

  • Rookie Marcus Johnson has moved ahead of Adam Goldberg for a starting spot, meaning Chris Liwienski finds himself back as the starting left guard. Liwienski was moved to the right side during the offseason.

  • Rookie free agent linebacker Heath Farwell has made enough of an impression on special teams that he is expected to see time with the first unit and compete with Rod Davis and Raonall Smith.


    QB Daunte Culpepper continues to appear in command this training camp. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 146 yards and had a quarterback rating of 113.5 last Friday in a 28-21 loss to the New York Jets. He has completed 16 of the 19 passes he has thrown in two preseason games.


  • WR Troy Williamson (seventh overall) returned Friday night against the Jets after missing more than week because of a soft tissue injury he suffered near his right ankle on Aug. 9. Williamson saw limited duty but made an impact with a 54-yard catch of a Shaun Hill pass in the third quarter. Williamson capped the drive with a 13-yard scoring reception.

  • DE Erasmus James (No. 18) has been playing catch up after missing the first part of training camp in a contract dispute. He was a non-factor against the Jets and did not have a tackle.

  • Second-round pick Marcus Johnson replaced the injured Chris Liwienski (sprained shoulder) at right guard against the Jets. He looks to have grabbed a starting spot there.

  • S Dustin Fox, a third-round selection, had surgery on his fractured left arm. Doctors removed a plate that was put in the same arm when Fox suffered a similar injury last season at Ohio State and replaced it with a bigger one. Fox could end up on season-ending injured reserve.

  • RB Ciatrick Fason (fourth round) will miss two-to-three weeks after suffering a high right ankle sprain in the third quarter against the Jets.

  • DT C.J. Mosley (sixth round) had a tackle against the Jets and remains a player who needs plenty of work before he can be counted on to contribute.

  • CB Adrian Ward (seventh round) likely will end up on the practice squad this season.

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