Minicamp Observations: First Session

The Vikings were back on the field with nearly a full squad Friday morning after the return of Antoine Winfield, but rehabilitations are cause for rotating players. Find out who looked good (or not) Friday morning.

Antoine Winfield was the focus of reporters after the Vikings' morning practice session at Winter Park, but there was another defensive back missing from the lineup this time.

Safety Tank Williams, who filled in for Darren Sharper as a first-team safety during the final two sessions of the last organized team activities (OTAs), is still recovering from a training camp knee injury that is limiting his ability to participate fully in two-a-day practices. Williams isn't alone, however.

After making a surprising move by participating in organized team activities two weeks ago, fellow safety Mike Doss is expected to take the late afternoon practice off and Williams is expected to return to the practice field. Those players recovering from knee injuries are expected to rotate practices during Friday and Saturday's two-a-day sessions, although linebacker Chad Greenway is expected to participate in both practices today and then be re-evaluated following the afternoon practice.

Linebacker Jason Glenn, who practiced with his left leg wrapped, is also expected to be held out of the afternoon session.

Other notes from Friday morning's session:

  • The offense struggled early on in full-team drills – and "struggled" is being kind. Williamson started a parade of miscues by starting his route early on a hard count from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Williamson took off jogging as penance for his mistake. On the second play, Jim Kleinsasser got a false start, cuing him up for another solo jog down the field. On the third play, Jackson and center Matt Birk muffed the snap. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly three plays to instill confidence in an offense that struggled last year.

    The ball ended up on the ground several more times throughout practice between receivers dropping catchable passes or other offensive players being stripped of the ball after catching it.

  • The longest play of the morning session was a 45-yard bomb from Brooks Bollinger to Billy McMullen. Wide receiver Jason Carter, who went undrafted in 2006, nearly equaled that with a 40-yard reception in which he beat coverage from Antoine Winfield.

  • Wide receivers Cortez Hankton and Bobby Wade looked like the most consistent receivers of the morning session, and Hankton got at least one play with the first-team offense. Wade has been working with the first-team offense for the duration of the offseason.

  • The defense started the full-team portion of practice just as they did last year by incorporating a drill emphasizing that all defenders hustle to the ball and take the proper angles. Defensive tackle Pat Williams thought a third straight time for cornerback Ronyell Whitaker having to make the sprint across the field was a good opportunity for a full-out razzing from the opposite sidelines.

  • Safety Darren Sharper was back with the first-team defense after missing the last two days of OTA practices two weeks ago to do on-air analysis for the NFL Europa league. Dwight Smith was the other safety working with the first-team defense.

  • Without Tank Williams in the morning session, Greg Blue and Mike Doss were the second-team safeties.

  • Kenechi Udeze was back working at left end with the first-team defense with Ray Edwards as the starting right end. Darrion Scott had taken most of the first-team reps at left end during OTAs. Erasmus James, recovering from two knee surgeries in the last nine months, attended Friday's morning session, but he isn't expected to be ready to practice until training camp.

  • Running back Chester Taylor took the first rep with the offense, but he and Adrian Peterson shared time with the first-team offense and were used in the same backfield at times.

  • Bobby Wade and Troy Williamson remained the starting wide receivers, with Sidney Rice being added in three-receiver sets.

  • The Vikings were using a lot of presnap motioning in their offense, something that can help the quarterback identify the defense quicker.

  • The Wilf ownership group, sans Lenny Wilf, was in attendance at Friday morning's session.

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