OTA Observations: Day One

With a starting cornerback electing not to attend, another starter unable to participate because of an injury and more than a score of new players in a Vikings uniform, there were several changes to note in the first full-team practice session open to the media since the draft on Tuesday.

  • With Antoine Winfield electing to not attend a non-mandatory organized team activity (OTA) on Tuesday, Dovonte Edwards took Winfield's place at left cornerback. Edwards missed all of last season with a broken arm suffered in an Aug. 31 preseason game. He made the 2005 team as an undrafted free agent and intercepted a Brett Favre pass for his career highlight to date.

  • With Steve Hutchinson attending a charity golf event and being the only other healthy player not in NFL Europa to miss practice, Anthony Herrera was the starting left guard.

  • Former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon will be helping with the quarterbacks on a sporadic basis this year.

    "He knows what he is looking at when he looks at quarterbacks. He spoke to all of our quarterbacks last year. He's got a great thing that he goes through in terms of snap-to-snap preparation," head coach Brad Childress said. "He's welcome any time he wants to come out here …

    "I value his opinion. I got a chance to know him at the Pro Bowl and obviously he has taken one or two snaps in this league. It hasn't changed that much since he played."

  • Several players coming off of knee surgeries at some point in 2006 were practicing without any visible knee wraps or limitations, including Edwards, linebacker Chad Greenway and punter Chris Kluwe.

  • Wide receiver Troy Williamson was often in the starting group on the practice field Tuesday after a troubling 2006 season that saw him starting only two of the last seven games, a stretch that included him being a relatively healthy scratch for two December games. However, Williamson doesn't appear to have completely put the dropped passes behind him, as he let several catchable balls hit the ground in breezy conditions.

  • Second-round draft pick Sidney Rice showed some solid concentration on one pass where his feet slipped out from underneath him while making a cut. He still caught the pass sliding on his knees.

  • In two-wide receiver sets, Williamson and Bobby Wade were often the starters on the outside, with Jim Kleinsasser and Visanthe Shiancoe the starting tight ends and Chester Taylor the starting running back.

  • For now, it appears that wide receiver Cortez Hankton is still ahead of fifth-round draft pick Aundrae Allison on the depth chart. Rice appears to be the third wide receiver used after Williamson and Wade.

  • The Vikings were employing a number of formations where Chester Taylor and first-round draft pick Adrian Peterson were part of a split backfield at the same time. It's all about keeping defenses guessing and creating mismatches, according to fullback Tony Richardson and Peterson.

  • Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe did not have a good day catching the ball, as he dropped several passes that could have been receptions. After one dropped ball, he continued toward the sideline and kicked what appeared to be a stool, sending it into pieces.

  • Seventh-round draft pick Chandler Williams looked quick in the feet and the hands, catching a number of passes in tight quarters.

  • The following players all practice fielding and returning punts: Charles Gordon, Allison, Mewelde Moore, Jason Carter, Wade and Chandler Williams.

  • Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper remained the starting safeties, with Tank Williams and Mike Doss playing with the second-team defense.

  • Ryan Longwell connected on consecutive field goal attempts of 24, 26 and 30 yards, followed by three straight from 36 yards kicking with a crosswind.

  • Several players were sent running after false starts or other presnap mistakes, including center Norm Katnik and Tarvaris Jackson after a muffed center-quarterback exchange.

  • In a bit of a new twist, the quarterbacks – Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and Tyler Thigpen – were all jumping rope at one time just before practice started.

  • If nothing else, practices were quieter without defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin's ever-present energy. Tomlin is now the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • Former Vikings wide receiver Travis Taylor is signing with the Oakland Raiders, according to Scout.com's Adam Caplan.


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