Aundrae Allison found out the day before the Vikings' first training camp practice that his opportunities would be increased.
That opportunity lasted only one day with wide receiver Sidney Rice ending his holdout and signing his rookie contract, but Allison showed that with Rice not attending training camp on Friday and Billy McMullen on the sidelines with a lower body strain that the East Carolina product is moving up the positional ranks.
Allison took most of the snaps when the Vikings used a three-receiver set on Friday, lining up with Bobby Wade and Troy Williamson as the first two receivers.
"I was really excited. I just feel like I have to capitalize on the opportunity and the best will work out," Allison said. "I really look at all the opportunities as big opportunities as far as me being able to showcase my talents. I don't really look at those guys like I'm going to try and outdo them while they're not here. I'm just trying to do what I can to make this team."
Rice signed his contract Friday evening and participated in Saturday's morning practice, but for Friday at least, Rice and McMullen's absence was Allison's opportunity.
"I feel like I was consistent, but I always try to get better," he said after the first day of two-a-day practices. "You can't never be too good. I look up to a lot of great receivers in the NFL that I dreamed of playing with – Marvin Harrison and guys like that – and that's a lot of hard work they put in. I look forward to trying to be like those guys."
At this early point in his professional development, Allison's role is largely undefined. With Rice back in camp, Allison likely is relegated to competing for playing time as a fourth receiver. He was also used as one of several players returning punts.
But Friday at least was a chance to put his practice work on film with the first-team offense.
"I know the coaches go day-by-day, just trying to get looks at who they want to look at. I'm just grateful to be in the position I'm in right now," he said. "All of that (rotation) is based on Coach (Brad) Childress and how he chooses to evaluate the team and put together the best 53 to win the NFC this year."
The difference for Allison between working with the second- and third-team offenses in May and June and the first-team offense in July was the opportunity to catch passes from the arm of Tarvaris Jackson versus Brooks Bollinger, Tyler Thigpen or Drew Henson.
"Tarvaris probably throws a little harder, but all in all it's probably the same," Allison said. "Once you're in the midst of running a route, you don't get a good grasp of how fast the ball is coming. You've just got to react."
For now, Allison said, consistency is what coaches are preaching to him.
"Just improve on being consistent and show great effort are two of the main things. I feel like it doesn't take talent to do this – it's just a mindset to go out there and be consistent and consistently give a great effort and try to make big plays for the team."
Opportunity for Allison
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