VikingBuzz BLOG: 7/1

The Vikings and the university spent $400,000 to improve the practice fields in Mankato for training camp this summer. The practice complex has been totally renovated.

>Practice fields at Mankato improved
If you’re going to Mankato for training camp this summer perhaps the biggest change fans might notice has to do with the practice fields.  The practice complex has been totally renovated and the fields, which previously had a 4% grade have been shaved down to a 1.5% grade.  New sod, a new drainage system and a new sprinkler system have also been installed.  The steep 4% grade had been an issue for the Vikings and the renovation solves that problem.  The cost for the upgrades was approximately $400,000 and was shared by the Vikings and the university.

>Longwell an exceptional golfer
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell is not just a NFL player, but he is also an excellent golfer.  He is ranked among Golf Digest’s top 220.  In fact among current and former pro athletes he comes in tied for No. 6 with a 1.8 handicap.

>Confidence in Jackson high at Winter Park
It's true that second-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has a lot to prove this season, but according to Sid, the people that matter most at Winter Park have great confidence in him.  "Well, time will tell on that," Vikings VP Rick Spielman said.  "I know coach [Brad] Childress and the organization have the upmost confidence in the kid, and he's going to have some growing pains, but he has all the tools to hopefully be successful for us."

>Vikings’ interior line ranked second in NFC
The Vikings’ interior offensive line of Steve Hutchinson, Matt Birk and Artis Hicks ranks No. 2 according to this TSN report, behind only the Bears’ trio of Olin Kreutz, Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza.

>Williams gives back with free camp
All-Pro DT Pat Williams (photo) conducted a free football camp at Sterlington High School in Monroe, La. this weekend.  Williams will spend another week in Monroe with his family and friends before returning to Minnesota to continue training for the 2007 season.

>Studwell is ‘king’ for a day in Packer country
Vikings director of college scouting and his family will be honorary guests for an annual festival on Bone Lake in Wisconsin, deep in the heart of Packers’ country, on July 7.

>Doss camp a success
Vikings safety Mike Doss hosted his free football camp this weekend in his hometown of Canton, Ohio.  “The most important thing is the kids,” he says in this story.  “It's all a free camp.  The Mike Doss Foundation, it's my vision.  This is the second year running, and I just hope I can keep it going.  Someone did this for me when I was young.  I just want to do it for the next group and feel like I'm giving back.”

>Spach helps out with former teammates’ football camp
Free agent TE Stephen Spach helped out with former Fresno State teammate Cameron Worrell’s camp this weekend.

>Gaither could get second-round consideration
junior OT Jared Gaither could get second-round consideration in the NFL supplemental draft on July 12.  It will be interesting to keep tabs on the Vikings’ interest in the huge (6-9, 350 pounds) tackle with a ton of upside potential.

>Acceptance in Pittsburgh coming slowly for Tomlin
People in Vikingland loved him, but it sounds like the folks in Pittsburgh are still hesitant to embrace new head coach Mike Tomlin.

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