Minicamp Observations: Final Session

The Vikings closed out minicamp Sunday with the fifth and final practice, and Brad Childress seemed especially pleased with several aspects of his special teams. Get those comments and other observations from the final session.

The Vikings wrapped up their minicamp Sunday, and head coach Brad Childress was especially pleased about the progress his special teams made.

He said all the kickers – incumbents Ryan Longwell and Chris Kluwe, and rookie Alex Reyes – were solid.

"I thought they did a nice job in terms of putting the foot on the football. I just want that to continue to progress, that consistency, that standard of performance. I thought we did good things there," Childress said.

On the special teams coverage units, the competition and skill level may be as good as it has been in some time.

The Vikings return their top three leaders in special teams tackles – linebacker Heath Farwell (25) and cornerbacks Ronyell Whitaker (15) and Antoine Winfield (13). They also added some solid support with linebacker Vinny Ciurciu and defensive end Brian Robison.

"I thought we got a lot of things done special teams-wise. It looks like we're going to have some good competition with those coverage units with people getting down the field and covering kicks. I was glad to see that," Childress said.

In other minicamp wrap-up notes from Sunday:

  • Every player except for defensive end Erasmus James practiced, but wide receiver Maurice Mann, who has been battling a hamstring injury the last three practices, was running and cutting gingerly.

  • Wide receiver Todd Lowber, who is new to football, received additional instruction on route-running techniques a number of times from wide receivers coach George Stewart.

  • The most consistent receiver all camp has been veteran Bobby Wade, who hasn't dropped many passes as he works across the middle of the field.

  • An interesting formation is having tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe and Jim Kleinsasser lining up within feet of each other. On Saturday, the Vikings had two tight ends split out wider than the two receivers on one play.

  • Humorous drill of the day: Watching some of the ducks the running backs were throwing to an assistant coach. The Vikings have been working on certain halfback passes, but some of the running backs likely eliminated themselves from further evaluation on that play.

  • Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy has been consistently challenging and offering additional tips to first-round pick Adrian Peterson, especially working to improve the precision of his routes.

  • Running back Chester Taylor has consistently gotten praise from Bieniemy on his technique out in pass patterns.

  • Catch of the day: On one of the first full-team offensive plays, Tarvaris Jackson made a good pass to the corner of the end zone that only Troy Williamson could catch. Williamson redirected his body and made a difficult catch, a nice public display of the progress he seems to be making in becoming a more reliable receiver.

  • Williamson was involved in passing the ball on one unsuccessful play.


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