Receivers receive (sometimes), players practice (most of the time) and coaches coach (most of the time). Get our observations from Thursday's mid-day organized team activity.
One of the beloved sayings of Vikings head coach Brad Childress is, "Receivers, by definition, should receive."
Unfortunately for the 2007 Vikings so far, Childress' receivers haven't always been consistent in hanging onto catchable passes in the early stages of their full practices.
"It's a definite point of emphasis," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "The guys have been here working out all together. It's one thing to be throwing and catching routes on air; it's another thing when there's a guy lining up in front of them, a guy swiping at the ball. They just need a little bit of time to get used to that. It was better today than it was yesterday, and they'll continue to get better."
It did seem to be a little better today with an indoor practice because of wet conditions outside, and Troy Williamson
hauled in one deep pass thrown his way. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe
also caught a relatively deep pass and extended for the ball nicely after dropping an easier pass earlier in practice. The top drop probably went to running back Mewelde Moore
, normally a sure-handed receiver, who let a wide-open pass in a soft spot in a zone fall through his hands and to the ground.
Hands weren't the focus of improvement for second-round wide receiver Sidney Rice
. Coaches were working on getting him to be more proficient in and out of his breaks.
Other practice observations from Thursday's workout:
Cornerback Antoine Winfield was missing for the third straight day of OTAs.
Guard Steve Hutchinson was back in action after missing the first two days to attend a charity golf tournament. He was immediately placed back in the starting lineup at left guard, relegating Anthony Herrera to backup duty again.
Safety Darren Sharper was excused to travel to New Jersey in preparation for another weekend of analysis on NFL Europa. Tank Williams replaced Sharper in the starting lineup alongside Dwight Smith.
Rookie defensive end Brian Robison looks like he will join the ranks of linebackers Vinny Ciurciu and Heath Farwell as intense special-teams coverage guys.
Line of the day: As backups are sprinting up and down the field working on kickoff coverages and techniques, the starting linebacker crew of Ben Leber, E.J. Henderson and Chad Greenway are taking a knee and visiting on the sidelines. An assistant coach jogs by and asks them, "Is everything OK? Can I get you guys anything? A Marlboro, maybe?"
Running back Adrian Peterson was getting extensive instruction on the proper blocking technique during individual drills, but he didn't need any coaching during one play late in practice when he juked rookie cornerback Marcus McCauley out of position, drawing a loud chorus of "oooohs" from his teammates.
Defensive end Darrion Scott was excused for personal reasons, as was defensive tackle Joe Anoai for the third straight day. In Scott's absence, Kenechi Udeze returned to working with the first team at left end. Second-year pro Ray Edwards was the first-team right end.
Linebacker Chad Greenway made an impressive interception while extending high on a Brooks Bollinger pass.
Ryan Longwell was perfect on field goal attempts of 22, 25, 28, 30, 34 and 37 yards during the middle of practice. Chris Kluwe was the holder.
Tight end Braden Jones, who injured a finger earlier this week, was absent today.
Running back Chester Taylor and linebacker Jason Glenn will be excused from Friday's practice for personal reasons.
The team has a bevy of possibilities as kick returners. Mewelde Moore, Troy Williamson, Wendell Mathis, Aundrae Allison, Bobby Wade, Chandler Williams, Randy Hymes and Charles Gordon were all taking turns catching and returning kickoffs launched out of a JUGS machine. Todd Lowber said he has been working on that as well, but he wasn't part of the kick-return parade Thursday.