Minicamp Chat Transcript

What were the questions still remaining from hard-core Vikings fans after three days of minicamp, and what did one writer at all five of those practices think? Find out in this transcript from Wednesday night's post-minicamp chat with subscribers.

vikingspub: It's really looking like the Twins and Gophers will get a stadium this year and the Vikes will be out in the cold (bad pun).

kajjansiblackmamba: Hopefully next year.

vikingspub: I think if the Twins and Gophers get through this year, it should clear the way for the Vikings.

kajjansiblackmamba: Shall we start, Tim?

vikingspub: Yep, let's get at it.

vikingspub: Probably a half hour should be good, so fire away.

AnthSolem: What positions have Dustin Fox and Cedric Griffin been playing? It seems Griffin is slated to be a CB, but I hear Fox is better suited as a corner also.

vikingspub: They have both been playing corner.

kajjansiblackmamba: OK, I have a two-parter on Griffin. First, how did he look in Camp and what was the 'personal reason' he was excused from the last part of camp (if you know)?

WerewolfEars: School.

kajjansiblackmamba: Finals, like I thought.

HissingBoomslang: If both are playing corner -- then besides Darren Sharper, Tank Williams, Willie Offord and Greg Blue -- who else is playing at safety?

vikingspub: I don't know what the personal issue was, but I did talk to him just before he left (after Sunday morning's practice). If it was finals, I can understand that. He didn't seem bothered by anything when I talked with him.

kajjansiblackmamba: Shows character too, finishing what he starts.

HissingBoomslang: I think Huff was a good influence on him.

vikingspub: Griffin looked OK, but a little hesitant, which is to be expected for a rookie. Plus, he only had three practices before leaving.

vikingspub: Will Hunter and Laroni Gallishaw were also playing safety.

vikingspub: When Sharper left because of a family issue (nothing illegal or embarrassing), Offord was paired with Tank.

HissingBoomslang: Hmmm ... Tank, Offord, Blue are all SS types who have questionable coverage. Offord and Tank paired together ... hmmmm.

WerewolfEars: Was that Mewelde Moore practicing with the mesh yellow shirt over his jersey?

vikingspub: Yep, Moore had the yellow jersey to avoid contact, but he wasn't really that limited. He did everything, including full-team drills and didn't seem to have any troubles gripping or catching the ball.

kajjansiblackmamba: Any undrafted FAs stand out?

AnthSolem: It sort of seems like we're stacked at CB. Besides the obvious starters, the battle for nickel back is between Fox, Griffin, Whittaker and Edwards. There a chance one of these corners doesn't make the team?

vikingspub: Yes, I'd say there is a chance that one of them doesn't make it. I can't really say exactly how good Whitaker is because I haven't seen him practice.

vikingspub: I think Edwards and Griffin are set to make the roster, and I'd be surprised if Fox isn't there as well, either at CB or safety. Griffin and Edwards both seemed to be ahead of Fox on the depth rotation.

WerewolfEars: Wow, already?

vikingspub: There was a lot of rotation going on, but when Griffin was there, he saw some time at first nickel on the outside (same with Edwards) and Winfield slid inside.

HissingBoomslang: I cannot wait until Griff starts belting people.

WerewolfEars: Yep, and then we can snag Huff when he's a RFA. 0

vikingspub: He seems like a very humble, thoughtful person. He's quiet and respectful off the field, at least at this early stage.

kajjansiblackmamba: How did Blue look, Tim?

vikingspub: Big!

vikingspub: Actually, Blue seemed to have pretty good ball skills on individual drills, but I didn't get to see enough of him against the first- and second teams to really judge beyond that.

AnthSolem: What do you think of our middle linebacker position?

vikingspub: MLB is a complete mystery to me. Napoleon Harris got most of the work with the first team, but Thomas also saw some good action there. Surprisingly, Henderson stayed on the outside the whole camp.

AnthSolem: Did anyone stand out?

vikingspub: Yeah, Williamson was standing out on the sidelines ;) Seriously, I really like Tarvaris Jackson.

AnthSolem: There seems to be a really positive reaction to him from what I've read.

vikingspub: I think he has the obvious learning curve with not staring down receivers and he'll need to learn when to throw it away (nobody better at that than Johnson), but he's got such a quick release and frozen-rope throw.

kajjansiblackmamba: It seems like he was the surprise of the camp. Tim, is it true that he's staying here and meeting with the coaches on a daily basis?

vikingspub: That's what Jackson was saying and it seemed like he was talking with them in the two weeks previous as well.

kajjansiblackmamba: Thanks Tim, that is VERY good news to me.

NorthernVike: Can I get your impressions on Ryan Cook? In particular, his footwork and ability to move.

vikingspub: The offensive linemen were often tucked in a corner that was hard to view, but he looked stronger physically than I was expecting.

WerewolfEars: Will Joey Goodspeed get cut (injury settlement, etc.) or IR?

vikingspub: I think he'll have to take an injury settlement. I'm not completely convinced he'd have made the roster anyway.

HissingBoomslang: Did you get to watch or speak with Hank Baskett at all?

vikingspub: Hiss, I didn't speak with Baskett, but we have a story going in our print edition on him that was done by another writer.

HissingBoomslang: Cool, thanks.

vikingspub: Baskett isn't terribly fast, but he is a big body at receiver and seems to have good hands and the ability to go across the middle. He could make the 53-man roster and develop that way.

HissingBoomslang: Yeah -- was a WAC Champion high-jumper, too.

NorthernVike: What is your opinion on depth at QB? Is it sufficient?

vikingspub: The QB depth is sufficient if Johnson stays healthy (how's that?). Actually, Jermaine Wiggins had a great point about the concern with Johnson's age and injury. He said that with the West Coast offense, he will be getting rid of the ball more quickly. That, and a better offensive line should help keep him healthy.

AnthSolem: I heard Charles Gordon got an interception. There has been a big knock on his speed. Did he look quick enough to play the CB position?

vikingspub: On Gordon, yes, I'd question if he had enough speed there, but if I recall, that interception was more from a ball getting banged around in traffic and he came up with a nice snag by staying with it.

NorthernVike: It seems QBs rarely play an entire year. Big Bad Brad will likely miss at least one or two games.

vikingspub: Yeah, I'd expect Johnson to miss a game or two, but you'd hope McMahon isn't being counted on for a long stretch.

kajjansiblackmamba: Speaking of O-line, how is Hutch fitting in?

vikingspub: OL is next to impossible to gauge in minicamp, but he seems to have the respect of his peers.

kajjansiblackmamba: That's important. Hope they managed to hit a couple of all-you-can-eat buffets before camp broke to bond.

AnthSolem: How does the RB core look to you? Did you get to see any of that UDFA back from Texas Tech, Taurean Henderson?

vikingspub: They looked pretty decent. Moore looked quick as ever, Taylor looked to be pretty versatile and Fason did OK. I'm still not sure how Fason will fit into this offense, though. I know everyone was hyped up on Henderson's highlight video. He is quick, but without pads, you didn't see him making a lot of people miss. I think it will be quite a battle between him and Wendell Mathis. He's another strong UDFA candidate.

AnthSolem: I bought a Koren Robinson jersey. Think he'll have a big year, or will Williamson stand out? I hear K-Rob is still set to return most of the kicks.

vikingspub: K-Rob is expected to be the No. 1 WR, and given his familiarity and confidence with this offense, I'd expect him to have a better year.

AnthSolem: Thanks. I hope the WRs really step it up this year. A lot of potential.

NorthernVike: I think the Vikes are making a great move at planning on playing Williamson more this year. A gem to be polished.

vikingspub: I think they just need to make his routes not so predictable for one thing. I'm still not sold on him, but he does have the speed and height to be good.

NorthernVike: I think the West Coast offense helps him.

dadevike: Aside from MLB position, what position seemed in greatest need of starting talent or significant depth?

vikingspub: That WR corps is just such an unknown.

vikingspub: I still don't like the immediate QB depth, but maybe McMahon will change my mind. OL and DL should be set. Tight end might be a little thin after Jim Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins, but Richards Owens was back there in the May camp after playing fullback in April. We'll see if that changes with Goodspeed out now.

NorthernVike: I was surprised no young tight end was drafted this year. Do you think the Vikes need more speed there?

vikingspub: Northern, yes, I do believe they need more speed there and I was surprised they didn't go TE in the draft either. I think they thought they could get Owen Daniels in the fourth round, but he went early in that round.

AnthSolem: Did Kevin Williams look in shape? I heard that and injury problems were the reasons he had an off year.

vikingspub: I think he looked better than he did at training camp last year, but with all the rotating they did between first and second teams, it's hard to say how much stamina he had.

kajjansiblackmamba: How did our new FB look?

vikingspub: I really like Tony Richardson. I think he'll provide versatility and leadership. A really good guy off the field from what I hear of him. Great community asset.

vikingspub: A couple more and then let's wrap it up.

AnthSolem: What did you think of Tank?

vikingspub: I talked to him one-on-one in April and he seems like a quality guy as well. Obviously, he didn't get to lay a big hit down in camp, but I think it will be a great battle between him and Offord. I feel pretty decent about the depth there.

HissingBoomslang: How did Fred Smoot look on the field in your opinion ... (not HIS OWN).

vikingspub: Smoot wasn't talking as much, although he said Childress likes him to talk. He was pretty typical Smoot on the field. Decent most of the time, but let a couple slip by him, so I still have a small concern there. He needs to really step up after last year.

vikingspub: Smoot's quote to me on the differences between Tice and Childress: Points to Childress and says "winning" and then looks away, referencing Tice, and says "losing." Strong words.

NorthernVike: Does Napolean Harris have football instincts? Is he fast enough?

vikingspub: I think Harris has the instincts, but I'm not convinced on his drive to succeed. Maybe that changes with Childress, but I felt he just wasn't a huge effort guy last year. I think he could be very good if he really applied his talents.

HissingBoomslang: How does Mike Tomlin strike you?

vikingspub: I love Tomlin, in a pure way. He has energy, really seems to love the game, and he seems to have the attention and respect of the players. To end this all, the biggest thing I took away from talking to the veterans is that they really believe they are getting much better coaching this year. I think the coaches have their respect because of them being straightforward and knowledgeable.

HissingBoomslang: Cool, I think Tomlin could be the best signing of all this offseason.

AnthSolem: Thanks for answering the questions.

dadevike: Thanks for the info.

HissingBoomslang: Yes, thanks Tim.

vikingspub: OK, guys, seems like that's it. Thanks for questions. If you feel the need for a chat to get your juices going before training camp, we can revisit. Just post something on the Insider board requesting that.

NorthernVike: Thanks, enjoyed the session!

vikingspub: Have a good weekend everyone.

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