Vikings Practice: From Hot to Slop

After three straight days of oppressive heat, the Vikings' Tuesday morning practice provided a stark contrast with continuous rain and cooler temperatures that were welcomed by most.

The Vikings moved from a 106-degree heat index on Monday to a steady rain Tuesday morning. The change in weather was welcomed by some, but not by all.

"It was nice that the heat broke today and we're looking forward if it continues," linebacker Chad Greenway said after the morning session.

As a rookie, Greenway was one of the players that reported to camp early and started practicing last Friday. Since then, he had endured the weekend full of heat in 90s with high humidity. While he was happy to see the heat gone, if only for a short period, fellow linebacker Ben Leber was able to come up with a play on words for those veterans who just joined camp and started practicing on Monday.

"We're out here in full pads for the first day and we're literally just getting our feet wet," said Leber as he stood in the post-practice drizzle with wet socks and shoes. "It was fun to get out here and get a little pop. I think everybody's timing was a little bit off, but that's what the first day is all about."

Although Leber was exposed to the extreme heat only in Monday's morning conditioning and shorter afternoon practice, he still called Tuesday morning's break in heat a Godsend, saying, "We're a little wet, but it's a lot cooler."

Head coach Brad Childress said the heat and the fact that more is being installed on offense and defense makes this a draining time on players, mentally and physically. But he wasn't feeling completely sorry for them.

"Typically in this third installation, which happens tonight, they're swimming. You add the pads, you add the conditioning, the heat, the hitting and then you add the volume of the plays – this is the one that touches them a little bit," Childress said. "Mindful of that, they're getting paid to study that stuff. They've got to take it back to their dorm room.

"You talk about three things that take no talent. It takes no talent to be in great shape and be conditioned. It takes no talent to know your assignment, and it takes no talent to hustle in football. No talent. You can do those things without being very skilled."

But the rain did add a different dimension for players trying to stay on their feet and make an impression in the first full-pads practice.

"Just coming out here with pads on for the first time in these wet conditions, you just have to watch your base. It's something you have to get used to. Even with the veterans that have been here eight or 10 years, I think it's an adjustment for them," Greenway said, adding that the wet practice could come in handy if the Vikings end up playing a game in the rain at some point later in the season.

For Childress, there were two factors in deciding whether or not to practice in the rain – players' safety and still being productive in the practice.

"We haven't had lighting or anything, but you want to be smart. I talked to the guys right at the beginning of practice about being smart with their teammates, and I also talked to them about how we're not going to stand out here and slop around either," he said. "If we need to go inside, we'll go inside. Inside, you have to be smart as well. It turns into more of a jog or a walk. You can't get the same things accomplished on that surface, and you have to be mindful."

Tuesday's afternoon session brought a break in the rain, but skies remained overcast and the humidity returned. However, Childress elected to have the players shed the pads for the afternoon practice.


  • Defensive tackles Hopoi Manase and Pat Williams both conditioned on the side throughout the morning and afternoon practices.

  • The second-string linebacker group consisted of Chad Greenway (weakside), Dontarrious Thomas (middle) and Rod Davis (strongside).

  • The slippery field in the morning made it interesting watching some offensive linemen simply sliding backwards as they were pushed by the defensive linemen.

  • Two big hits rocked the morning practice. Linebacker Chad Greenway buried running back Ciatrick Fason at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Rod Davis followed suit with a big hit on running back Mewelde Moore.

  • Safety Dwight Smith walked off the field clutching his thigh in the afternoon practice.

  • Brad Johnson got the majority of reps during a stretch of practice with the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers working together. Although Johnson said he is being put on a "pitch count" during practices, he isn't the one monitoring how many times he is throwing.

  • Cornerback Antoine Winfield intercepted a Johnson pass by jumping a wide receiver's route.

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