Running back Adrian Peterson is expected to start practicing Monday morning after signing a five-year, $40.5 million contract. His teammates are excited to see what he can do in pads after getting glimpse of his potential in spring practices without pads. See what they had to say about him after practice, plus get more than two dozen notes from Sunday's lone practice.
Shortly after the Vikings finished their one practice of the day, first-round pick Adrian Peterson
was due to fly into the Twin Cities, fresh off signing a reported five-year, $40.5 million contract with $17 million in guarantees. Head coach Brad Childress expected the No. 7 overall pick in the draft to arrive later this evening.
"He's got to do some paperwork at Winter Park and he'll be down here at 10 (p.m.) or so," said Childress, who expects the running back from the University of Oklahoma
to participate in tomorrow morning's practice.
The coach didn't seem overly concerned with the five practices missed by Peterson, the highest-drafted running back by the Vikings in a quarter century.
"My sense is that he'll do fine," Childress said. "I think there was a day or two (during Organized Team Activities) where Chester (Taylor) missed, where (Peterson) got most of the number one turns anyway. He'll pick up some turns tomorrow."
And Childress said the Vikings aren't going to take it easy on Peterson, who dropped a few spots in the draft due to concerns about his collarbone, which he broke during the season and aggravated during the Fiesta Bowl.
"No, no, not at all," Childress said. "I don't know what the numbers are, but that's what he is getting paid for (to play) right now…
"He loves to play. As I've said before, he wants to be a great teammate. He wants to contribute. He wants to be liked in the locker room. He knows the fastest way is to be a good teammate and a good player."
Coming off the steamy practice fields, Vikings players were looking forward to the arrival of the punishing yet fleet-footed back, including last season's workhorse Chester Taylor
, who undoubtedly will see a reduction in carries with the addition of Peterson.
"It's about time (he signed)," Taylor said with a chuckle. "We need him out here. We can groove our offense even better with him coming back. I'm just looking forward to him taking the field."
Last season, Taylor rushed for 1,216 yards and established a team mark with 303 carries. But he doesn't seem to mind giving some of those carries to Peterson, a three-time All-Big 12 selection who rushed for over 4,000 yards at Oklahoma.
"I know we both are going to be working in and out," said Taylor who has been running hard during the first three days of camp. "We're going to wear down defenses with a one-two punch basically.
"I know Adrian from minicamp. He worked hard, he ran hard. All he is going to come out here and do is run hard and work hard. That's all I expect of him."
Guard Steve Hutchinson
, who will be relied upon to open holes for Peterson, said the offense certainly can benefit from Peterson's explosiveness.
"He'll be a hell of an addition to our team," Hutchinson said. "Our offense has been imperfect and the quicker he gets in the better."
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
believes combining Peterson with Taylor in the backfield, along with a quality offensive line, will reduce the burden on himself and the wide receivers.
"Having those guys behind me and those guys in front of me should make my job easier and the receivers' job a lot easier," he said.
Other observations from Sunday's lone practice conducted in pads and shorts:
Four Vikings nursing what are believed to be minor injuries sat out the session: safety Darren Sharper (shoulder strain), linebacker Ben Leber (strained calf muscle), defensive lineman Brian Robison (leg muscle strain) and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (foot). All but Shiancoe were on the sidelines. Childress said Shiancoe was inside rehabbing.
Receiver Billy McMullen, tackle Bryant McKinnie and defensive end Erasmus James—all on the physically unable to perform or non-football injury lists—did conditioning work on the side for the third straight day.
For the second consecutive day, rookie punter Alex Reyes practiced kicking off. The majority of his kicks came down at the 7-yard-line. The hang-time on the kicks wasn't particularly impressive.
Rookie free agent wideout Todd Lowber was told to "hold the line" instead of drifting away from the ball when practicing out patterns under the watchful eye of offensive assistant Chad O'Shea.
The defense wore white jerseys this afternoon and the offense donned purple. With the hot sun, the offense most assuredly could feel the difference.
Troy Williamson continues to look solid catching short and intermediate passes. However, he doesn't seem as aggressive in going for the ball with the deep patterns.
For all the talk heading into camp of an open quarterback battle between Jackson and veteran Brooks Bollinger, it's clear that it's Jackson's job to lose. Once again, he took the vast majority of the snaps with the first-team offense.
Jackson looked sharp at the beginning of 7-on-7 drills, completing four straight passes to four different receivers. But the long ball was still absent as he overthrew rookie Sidney Rice and veteran Bobby Wade on deep passes.
Bollinger continued to show command when he got his reps during 7-on-7. His 25-yard completion to Justin Surrency was the highlight of the drill.
In 11-on-11 action, the offense fared better than yesterday as it successfully converted several third-down situations.
Unlike yesterday, the plays weren't radioed in from the sidelines by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Second-round pick Rice continued to be the third receiver in the three-wide set and fellow rookie Marcus McCauley, a third-round choice, was once again the nickel back. McCauley made a juggling interception of a pass thrown by receiver Wade.
For the third straight day, the first-team offensive line consisted of Artis Hicks at left tackle, Steve Hutchinson at left guard, Matt Birk at center, Anthony Herrera at right guard and Ryan Cook at right tackle.
Veteran free-agent pickup Howard Green spelled defensive tackle Pat Williams and lined up next to Kevin Williams with the first-team defense.
Rookie Conrad Bolston and fourth-year man Spencer Johnson were the second-team defensive tackles.
Third-team defensive tackle Alex Guerrero intercepted a Drew Henson pass.
Down a few defensive ends, Ray Edwards and Jayme Mitchell worked a lot with the first team. Kenechi Udeze saw most of his action with the second and third units.
A big hit by safety Dwight Smith on receiver Cortez Hankton led to a Cedric Griffin interception of a Jackson pass.
One snap after cornerback Dovonte Edwards knocked the ball from him, Martin Nance beat Edwards on a go-route and hauled in a perfect pass from Bollinger for the play of the day.
Rookie Chandler Williams made a nifty diving catch over the middle of the field.
Childress implored running back Mewelde Moore to "protect the football" after linebacker Heath Farwell ripped the ball from the fourth-year back's hands.
Second-year fullback Naufahu Tahi made a few nice catches running with the third team. His 6-foot, 254-pound frame makes him difficult to bring down.
Lowber had a tough time of it. He failed to come up with a deep pass along the far sideline from Henson and shortly thereafter jumped offsides.
Many players beside Lowber had to take the half-field jog as punishment for jumping early. They included: Cook, Hicks, Edwards, and tight end Braden Jones.
The bleachers were half full.
At the end of the session, some players stretched on exercise balls.
One constant: Numerous Vikings have been gracious with autograph seekers.
Monday, it's back to two practices: 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.