Vikings End Camp with Physical Conditioning

The Vikings wrapped up their last minicamp practice with media access Monday, putting players through a physical test after a short practice. It wrapped up a weekend of progress in learning new systems and conditioning.

After five practices with nearly the full team, head coach Brad Childress put the players through their conditioning paces Monday before wrapping up a three-day camp.

Childress said the team made progress in their conditioning and their installation of the offensive and defensive schemes. While he was happy with the physical conditioning, he said there is still a lot of work to be done installing the offense.

"There are plays in the playbook that are in, but a lot of the situational stuff is not in," Childress said of the offense. "I mentioned to the guys (Monday) morning, we still have two-minute drills, short-yardage, goal-line, and third-and-longs. They're getting a feel more or less for the system and the words that go along with the system, and the words that speak to them. It's wordy, but there's only certain words that speak to them, so they are learning which words speak to them."

One player under the media microscope all weekend was second-draft pick Tarvaris Jackson, a selection two weeks ago that surprised many but proved his physical skills to first-time observers throughout the weekend.

While media can gauge Jackson's physical skills from the sideline, Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were the ones listening in intently as the rookie quarterback made his calls in the huddle on Monday.

"I thought probably the most impressive thing was just him delivering the essay in the huddle. I think like (Bevell) said to you, you have to know when to take a breath and where to take a breath so that everything flows when you are passing out that information. You are basically painting a picture with words," Childress said. "You can see the right look in his eye knowing exactly what he is creating. He can see the picture in his eye of what's going on."

Indeed, Jackson received strong reviews from his coaches, teammates and media – a solid all-around start in his first work with the Vikings.

While analyzing Jackson can be done on a superficial level, none of the Vikings were in pads, so judging the quality of line play is always difficult under those circumstances. But Childress was pleased with the work and conditioning of the players.

"Nobody in that last part of that conditioning test wanted to be the guy that let the guy standing next to him down, so you saw guys competing," he said. "If we have that kind of accountability during the year, we're going to be a good football team, and they want to be a good football team."

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie said the gassers run at the end of practice were a test for the players, but Pat Williams wasn't about to let his big man on the other side of the line slow down. The team ran 16 reps of about 50 yards and back, and players were required to finish those in 20 seconds. McKinnie said Williams was encouraging him all the way.

Some players have cut weight since the end of the season, but cornerback Fred Smoot said he has gained 10 to 15 pounds by design.

"If the conditioning drill is any indication, he's carrying it pretty doggone good because you always worry when somebody puts on weight that they can run, but he still looks like he can run," Childress said. "He's not struggling, it's not like he's dragging a wagon or anything like that."


  • The Vikings were without cornerback Cedric Griffin in Sunday afternoon's practice and Monday's final minicamp practice. He was excused for personal reasons, as was safety Darren Sharper on Monday.

  • With Sharper out on Monday, safety Willie Offord was getting work next to Tank Williams with the first-team defense.

  • Offensive lineman Adam Goldberg strained his hamstring, according to Childress.

  • Fullback Joey Goodspeed and Marvin Ward were injured earlier in the weekend, but Childress declined to expound on those injuries other than to say that Goodspeed hurt his knee.

  • Many of the rookies will continue to work out at Winter Park, but the Vikings' next camp isn't until June 5, according to Childress.

  • Jackson hasn't done a lot of rolling out in this West Coast offense, but he did complete one bullet pass while sprinting out to his right on Monday, further proof of his strong arm. Jackson did have one pass intercepted by Charles Gordon when Jackson locked in on a receiver and Gordon jumped the pass.

  • E.J. Henderson continued to work mostly at outside linebacker while Napoleon Harris continued to get most of the work at middle linebacker with the first team.

  • Former Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill had a tryout with the San Francisco 49ers.

  • Former Vikings linebacker Keith Newman signed with the Miami Dolphins.

  • According to the Florida Times-Union, the Vikings have not contacted Jacksonville Jaguars director of pro scouting Charles Bailey about being a potential replacement for former vice president of player personnel Fran Foley. Bailey was said to be in the running for the job when the Vikings hired Foley, but the Vikings may elect to wait until finalizing the structure of their front office after moving quickly to sign Foley in January before discovering his brash style didn't mesh well existing members of the staff.

  • Over the next few weeks, will continue to run stories centered on interviews with many of the players at minicamp.

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