The Vikings hosted a squad of tryout players working together with drafted and undrafted free agents Friday. We sift through the first very basic practice with our observations.
Rookie minicamp had more of a look of the tryouts in the movie "Invincible" than an organized practice for the Vikings. With only 23 of the rookie players signed who were working out, there were far more jerseys running around without names than those who are expected to stick with the team through next week.
Through the sea of anonymous white and purple jerseys, the players in which people were really interested could be found and scratch-the-surface eyeball evaluations performed.
First-round draft pick Adrian Peterson participated, as expected. Also of no surprise was that he continued to field questions about a pending decision on if he'll have surgery to try and correct an ailing collarbone. He avoided a definitive answer to those questions with all the ease he showed in college in avoiding the turf after first contact.
Peterson also looked smooth in drills that showed off his quick feet and garnered the praise of running backs coach Eric Bieniemy.
It's still very possible that Peterson completes this minicamp or even the full-team minicamp from June 1-3 and then has surgery. Opinions vary on the length of recovery time, anywhere from six weeks to a few months.
Peterson was one of many players that practiced fielding kickoffs. The line of rookies doing that included Sidney Rice, Arkee Whitlock, Todd Lowber, Aundrae Allison and Chandler Williams.
Lowber, the track phenom that never did play college football, dropped one kickoff while attempting to catch it, but he looked very smooth on most of the returns he attempted. Peterson also bobbled one kickoff return but didn't put it on the carpet of the fieldhouse (practice was indoors with because of drizzle outside). Not surprisingly, Williams looked the most natural catching the kickoffs, even fielding one with his hands over his head like last year's kick returner Bethel Johnson. Allison is also likely to continue getting reps by indications from head coach Brad Childress's post-practice comments.
Cornerback Marcus McCauley is described by analysts and himself as a physical cornerback, but without pads on he also looked like a cornerback with strong coverage instincts to break on the ball and displayed good makeup speed. He hung tight in coverage on Allison several time and knocked the ball away more than once. If the first rookie practice was any indication, he should have an excellent chance to be used outside in the nickel defense.
Lowber caught a 40-yard bomb in stride. His body says track guy, but he showed potential making some soft-handed catches and then also showed his inexperience with balls going through his hands and one deflecting off them and turning into an interception for Sergio Williams.
Seventh-round selection Tyler Thigpen showed potential in his first outing. The other tryout quarterback isn't likely to stick around long.
It's possible the Vikings look to use fourth-round selection Brain Robison, listed as a defensive end, at linebacker in certain situations. Although Robison said he hasn't gotten any indication of that yet, Childress acknowledged it's a possibility.
Practice definitely had a different feel without the energy of former defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.