Impressions From Minicamp

The Vikings have undergone dramatic changes since the turn of the calendar to 2002. Friday was the first look at how the changes are coming together.

Random notes and thoughts from minicamp:

* First-round draft choice Bryant McKinnie's skills were on full display. He saw nearly all the first-team action at left tackle. His feet looked to be some of the quickest around as the linemen went through their agility drills.

* In shape? Far from it for the big fella. McKinnie admitted that breathing in the colder Minnesota spring air took some getting used to and that he hasn't been able to work out in over a week, but he did enjoy the challenges the veterans put on him in drills. "Everybody wants to break you in or whatever they said. It's fun," McKinnie said. "You work hard and you earn everybody's respect. So it doesn't bother me."

* McKinnie's sackless streak was there for all the veterans to try and break in practice, but without full contact you won't be seeing any of the quarterbacks going down in minicamp. However, if there was full contact, McKinnie looks so good pass blocking that it might not matter. Run blocking remains to be seen.

* The returns on the Vikings' draft party at Winter Park seem to be a hit with the marketing department, as well as the fans. The team is going to try and extend the fan-friendly feel to training camp as well. They are planning a Kids Club Family Day and want to make Mankato more festive with Vikings themes more prevalent throughout town. They are also hoping two days of scrimmaging the Kansas City Chiefs will get fans to stay overnight.

* The arm strength of fourth-round pick Ed Ta'amu looks impressive. He has been compared to David Dixon, but he is also able to move Dixon back when facing off against him.

* Despite reports of Shawn Worthen being out until June, he was practicing close to full strength at minicamp. He is able to extend and lock out against the practice pads, so his outlook is encouraging.

* Wide receiver Kenny Clark did not practice. He had off-season hip surgery and rode the stationary bike in the morning session.

* Defensive line coach George O'Leary is pushing his linemen hard, trying to determine who is in shape and who needs more work to get there.

* There appears to be much more coordinated work between the tight ends and offensive linemen in early practices. Could be the new emphasis on the tight ends in this year's offensive under coordinator Scott Linehan.

* The "looked very strong" players of the first day were receiver Cedric James, according to Tice and VU's assessment, and defensive end Lance Johnstone, according to Tice.

* Lorenzo Bromell's wing span could be a huge plus in knocking down balls at the line of scrimmage.

* The defensive first team looked like this:
LDE – Kenny Mixon
NT – Fred Robbins
UT – Chris Hovan
RDE – Lorenzo Bromell
SLB – Patrick Chukwurah
MLB – Henri Crockett
WLB – Lemanski Hall
RCB – Corey Chavous
LCB – Eric Kelly
FS – Carey Scott
SS – Tyrone Carter/Willie Offord

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