>New and improved practice fields await Vikings in Mankato
After more than $400,000 in renovations and upgrades, the field conditions for Vikings training camp in Mankato are better than ever. In fact, Vikings sod specialist George Toma said last week that MSU’s stadium grass was better than any NFL team’s he’s seen. MankatoFreePress.com has the full story.
>Two Vikings make preseason All-Rookie Team
This protrade.com article picks their first- and second-team All-Rookie Team for fantasy football in 2007. Two Vikings – running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Sidney Rice – are picked for the first team.
>Holdovers from the Tice era?
According to calculations by Kevin Seifert of the StarTribune, there are just 23 players remaining from the team Brad Childress inherited from Mike Tice.
>Childress to spread the play-calling around?
Sid Hartman reports that head coach Brad Childress could spread the play-calling around this season to give him a better overall view of what’s going on during games – offense, defense and special teams. Sid also predicts success for Childress this season, pointing to personnel changes as the key. Speaking of Childress, here’s another link to Dave Campbell’s AP story on the second-year head coach in case you missed it.
>Peterson among five rookies to watch
This Kansas City Star report lists five rookies to watch in training camp this summer. Among them is Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Speaking of Peterson, if you haven’t seen the “#1 Adrian Peterson Fansite” the link is here.
>Hometown hero: Adrian Peterson
And, here’s a local story by Sean Jensen at the Pioneer Press on Adrian Peterson Day in his hometown of Palestine, Texas, earlier this summer.
>James ready to go, sort of
Defensive end Erasmus James has been given the green light to fully participate in practices as training camp approaches, but the coaches could hold him back a bit and take it slow as Sid writes.
>Vikings aren’t only team with questions at QB
The Vikings aren’t the only team heading into training camp with question marks at quarterback. Much has been made of the Vikings’ situation with the largely unproven Tarvaris Jackson as the frontrunner to be their starter in 2007. But they aren’t the only team in that boat. In particular, the Chiefs are similarly pinning their hopes on Brodie Croyle. A few others are also mentioned in this Kansas City Star report.
>Do Falcons want to pursue Culpepper?
According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Atlanta Falcons want to resolve Michael Vick’s status (i.e. paid leave of absence) with the team so they can pursue ex-Viking quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
>Oddsmakers rank Peterson 2nd in Rookie of the Year race
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is going to be a training camp holdout but that hasn’t kept oddsmakers at Sportbet.com from making him the favorite for rookie of the year honors. Vikings prize pick Adrian Peterson has the second best odds to win rookie of the year with a +440 chance.
>Council OKs city ramps sale for $88 million
The Minneapolis City Council approved selling eight of the 24 parking ramps it operates under an $88.2 million deal approved over the objections of some union representatives.
>Hutchinson much more comfortable in second year
Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson is much more comfortable entering his second season with the Vikings after a whirlwind introduction a year ago. Judd Zulgad of the StarTribune has an excellent piece on the Pro Bowl guard.
>Hutchinson and Randle form friendship outside of football
Another nice piece by Judd Zulgad of the StarTribune about the friendship Hutchinson and former Vikings defensive tackle John Randle (photo) have forged since becoming neighbors.
>A 7-9 finish for Vikings?
This NFC North breakdown by GridIronGab projects a 7-9 finish for the Vikings this season. “[Adrian] Peterson, a talented downhill runner, can break a game wide open with his homerun capabilities and [Chester] Taylor will rush for his 1,000 yards and provide a receiving option out of the backfield for young QB Tarvaris Jackson,” Russell Loede says. “The run game is consistent and having the NFL’s top run defense is a plus for this young team.”
>In-depth analysis of Michael Vick’s legal trouble
Lester Munson of ESPN.com provides a very in-depth and coherent look at the magnitude of trouble Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick is in with Federal authorities over his alleged involvement in dog fighting.
>Ex-Vikings Eller and Siemon grateful for College Hall honors
Two former Viking greats – defensive end Carl Eller (pic) and middle linebacker Jeff Siemon (pic) – expressed their gratefulness in this AP story about their induction into the College Football Hall-of-Fame. Eller, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, played both offensive and defensive line for the Minnesota Gophers from 1961-63 and went on to play for the Vikings (1964-1978) and Seattle Seahawks (1979). He was known as a pass rusher in the pros, but was more of a run stuffer in college. Siemon, who played in three Super Bowls, helped Stanford win two Rose Bowls, making 15 tackles in a victory over previously unbeaten Ohio State, 27-17. He played with the Vikings from 1972-82 and went to four Pro Bowls (1973, 1975, 1976, 1977).
>Robison hopes to bring speed off the edge
Rookie defensive end Brian Robison is hoping he can make his first impression as a pass-rush specialist to carve out a role on the team. “I prepared myself before I came in here to be a pass-rush specialist,” Robison told Mike Wobschall at Vikings.com. “If I happen to move in where I'm an every-down player then that's fine with me. As of right now, from what [defensive line] coach [Karl] Dunbar and I have talked about, it's more of me being a pass-rush guy and that's what I want to be first. That's really what I have to be good at. But at the same time, I need to have the skill set to go in and play against the run as well because at any time someone can go down and I'll need to be ready to play.”
>Fantasy preview of rookie wide receivers
This PFW story highlights the rookie wide receivers and their potential fantasy football impact. “The Vikings are as thin at receiver as any team in the NFL, and Rice was the guy they tabbed to solve that problem,” PFW says. “The South Carolina product is athletic, and his size should help the Vikings’ offense in the long run, but he’s very raw after logging only two full seasons at the NCAA level. That inexperience will likely prevent Rice from making an impact early on, although his keeper value is considerably higher.”
>Battle at WR highlighted
The competition at wide receiver is highlighted as the No. 29 position battle in this Top 50 Position Battle report by Gregg Rosenthal of Fantasy Football Blog.
>NFC camp questions
Charles Robinson at Yahoo! Sports breaks down the key questions facing each NFC team as they head to training camp. About the Vikings he says: “Tarvaris Jackson or Brooks Bollinger? Will it matter? Unless there is some kind of miraculous development, the quarterback spot is going to be a significant issue. It looks like a season of trying to develop Jackson, but his learning curve is bound to be slowed by his wideouts. Troy Williamson has to consistently catch the ball deep and develop into more than a speedy option on slants and shorter routes. The defense has plenty of talent to compete in the NFC, but unless Williamson, Billy McMullen and Sidney Rice do something to stretch opponents, it's going to be an offensive grind.”
>Ex-Viking Hoag trying to make it with Redskins
He spent parts of three seasons with the Vikings and played his college football at Gustavus Adolphus in Minnesota, now wide receiver Ryan Hoag is trying to make it with the Washington Redskins this summer. TheHogs.net story.
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