It's not all about the receivers in Minnesota – OK, maybe mostly, but not all. Get our second-day observations from the Vikings' organized team activity on Wednesday.
If some had the mentality that the sky was falling after the Tuesday's first day of the Vikings' OTA practices with receivers struggling to catch the ball, then maybe the drizzle falling at the start of Wednesday's practice had something to do was an inconsistent early performance for the receivers.
However, as practice progressed – and the football and the ground dried out – the wide receivers and tight ends began making some nice receptions with much more consistency Wednesday than they experienced on Tuesday.
Here is some of what we caught during Wednesday's mid-day practice:
At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, Randy Hymes is one of the taller receivers on the team, but he also has the biceps to say he can beat a cornerback jam at the line of scrimmage. With his sleeves rolled up, he looks like a wide receiver-tight end hybrid. He also was one of the more consistent receivers catching the ball early in one-on-one drills when the ground was still wet and assistant coaches were firing passes from short distances away.
The receiver who might have struggled the most early on was Billy McMullen, whose feet were slipping on the turf while balls were sliding through his grip.
The receiver who might have looked the best Wednesday? Free-agent and first-year football player Todd Lowber. Running a 4.1-second 40-yard dash and being a former track star, speed wasn't an issue coming in. As a former basketball player, his vertical jump wasn't an issue. But Lowber also said his hands and catching the ball were never an issue for him either. The thing he needs to improve on most is running his routes, he said.
Lowber showed good hands in short-area drills and later got deep and made a solid over-the-shoulder catch down the right sideline with cornerback Ronyell Whitaker in his wake. Lowber wasn't Superman, however, as we did witness him dropping one catchable pass that went off his hands.
Troy Williamson, a 2005 first-round draft pick, also had a much better time catching the ball Wednesday than he did Tuesday. He was consistent in early position drills and later was outrunning rookie free-agent cornerback Chad Johnson for a long reception. Teammates and coaches both seemed to be putting extra effort in encouraging Williamson and reinforcing his good plays.
In other one-on-one work late in practice, where the obvious advantage goes to the offensive player, 2007 first-round draft pick Adrian Peterson beat 2006 first-round draft pick Chad Greenway across the middle of the field, and later tight end Visanthe Shiancoe beat Greenway down the side of the field. Tight end Jim Kleinsasser followed suit by beating safety Darren Sharper, and running back Ciatrick Fason beat Vinny Ciurciu. Whitaker ended the string of defenders getting beat when he intercepted a pass, and a short while later Charles Gordon followed with another interception. Fason later beat Greenway toward the end of the session.
With Antoine Winfield still a no-show for voluntary workouts, Dovonte Edwards continued to fill his position at left cornerback with Whitaker sliding into the nickel back role. Gordon also saw some action with the first-team nickel defense.
In the first-team nickel defense, the line consisted of Darrion Scott at left end, Pat and Kevin Williams at the tackles and Ray Edwards at right end. E.J. Henderson and Greenway were the first-team nickel linebackers.
Tarvaris Jackson and Norm Katnik muffed at least one more center-quarterback exchange and were sent jogging as punishment. Muffed snaps were an issue in Tuesday's practice as well.
Quarterback Brooks Bollinger and running back Peterson received a few reps with the first-team offense today.