Minicamp Observations: Second Session

While the afternoon practice (the second of five minicamp sessions) moved inside, the highlight was the one-on-one work between the receivers and cornerbacks and later the seven-on-seven drills. See who was burning who and who recovered for an interception, along with plenty of other notes from the afternoon.

As promised by head coach Brad Childress after the Vikings' morning session of minicamp, the highlight of the afternoon session was the work between the wide receivers and cornerbacks.

After a sketchy morning session outside by the wide receivers that saw numerous balls hit the ground, the receivers rebounded for the indoor afternoon session.

Some of the highlights:

  • Speedster Todd Lowber continued to show that he has more than just a 4.1-second 40-yard dash for skills. But his quickness still doesn't hurt. He burned veteran safety Darren Shaper with an inside-out move that ended with Lowber streaking down the right sideline with ball in hand.

    During seven-on-seven work later in the session, Lowber beat cornerback Ronyell Whitaker deep down the left sideline for a long touchdown that came from the right hand of Tarvaris Jackson.

    Lowber is starting to get more and more buzz from observers on the sidelines inquiring about him. He should. As one Vikings employee put it about him consistently catching the ball: "After a while, it stops becoming a coincidence."

  • Cornerback Antoine Winfield showed the best and worst of his position. He was not fooled by a move that Troy Williamson put on him and knocked away that pass.

    Later in the session, Williamson simply out-sprinted Winfield down the right sideline. When the ball was slightly underthrown, it allowed Winfield to catch up and he bumped Williamson hard enough to knock him to the ground, but the receiver still managed to haul in the pass while sliding down. The catch was met with the approval of owner Mark Wilf, who was right near the action and offered words of encouragement, and Williamson's concentration even garnered a compliment from the man he beat.

    During the seven-on-seven portion later in practice, Winfield jumped a route inside and picked off a pass from rookie Tyler Thigpen. That one earned the praise of head coach Brad Childress: "Nice job. Big play. Big play."

    Toward the end of practice, Williamson showed another dimension, making a nice sliding catch.

  • Martin Nance started the session with a strong reception that was heavily contested.

  • Receiver Jason Carter made a nice sliding catch in traffic.

  • Cortez Hankton made a strong move by hanging onto the ball despite rookie cornerback Marcus McCauley's hands trying to knock it out of Hankton's grasp.

  • Second-round draft pick Sidney Rice beat Mike Hawkins down the left sideline for a long reception.

  • Bobby Wade isn't known as a speed receiver, but he completely faked out safety Dwight Smith with a move that ended with Wade and the ball in open territory.

  • Seventh-round draft choice Chandler Williams caught a perfectly thrown deep ball from the arm of Brooks Bollinger. Later in practice, he made a nice sliding catch in traffic.

    In other observations:

  • Tight end Braden Jones was back at practice for both sessions on Friday after leaving an organized team activity practice early two weeks ago with a finger injury. Jones looks very quick for the position.

  • Linebacker Chad Greenway was the only player recovering from knee surgery to do two practices on Friday. Safety Tank Williams was practicing in the afternoon as Mike Doss took that session off. Linebacker Jason Glenn sat out of the afternoon activities as well.

  • The afternoon session featured dozens of guests on the sidelines, from friends of ownership to team sponsors.

  • Just like he did at OTA practices, kicker Ryan Longwell continued to make everything from medium distance. He has attempted many long field goals in public view.

  • One of the interesting combinations of personnel Friday afternoon: Chester Taylor, Hankton, Visanthe Shiancoe and Rice split out at receiver with fullback Tony Richardson in the backfield.

  • Second-year cornerback Cedric Griffin had a would-be interception bounce off his hands. That pass was thrown by Bollinger.

  • Running back Ciatrick Fason had a pass bounce off his chest, and receiver Aundrae Allison dropped a catchable pass.

  • In the morning session, the Vikings worked a number of reverses between Troy Williamson and Bobby Wade. In the afternoon session, they added the flavor of Wade looking to pass downfield after getting a lateral pass from the quarterback. He wisely threw it away under heavy pressure.

  • Wide receiver Martin Nance got into a shoving match with some of the defensive backs.

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