He might be the least-known of most of the players in training camp with the Vikings this summer, but in his first game action against the Seattle Seahawks last Friday evening, rookie defensive lineman Leger Douzable acclimated himself well, flashing big-play ability on a couple plays.
Douzable got some extra playing time because second-string left end Jayme Mitchell had to leave the game early with a knee injury. In late-game action, Douzable made his presence felt with a pair of tackles, both resulting in losses.
On a second-and-6 play early in the fourth quarter, Douzable quickly defeated the Seahawk blocking scheme to corral running back Justin Forsett for a one-yard loss in the backfield. The play was critical in forcing a rare punt by Seattle at that point in the game.
Then just before the two-minute warning, on third-and-3, Douzable exploded into the backfield again to drop Forsett again for a 4-yard loss.
A big man at 6-foot-5, 302 pounds, Douzable has shown more quickness and explosion than one might have thought. He also has the versatility to play that left, anchor end spot, and also move inside.
Douzable still remains a longshot to beat the numbers game on the defensive line to make the opening-day roster, but he’s made a case for a practice squad spot with his early play during the preseason.
Ferguson contributing on special teams
Veteran receiver Robert Ferguson is playing on more special teams than any time since his rookie year with the Packers, unusual for a veteran player, especially a wide receiver. But Ferguson is willing to do anything he can to contribute and carve out a role on the team.
“I’m a stubborn guy, and I like to catch touchdowns,” Ferguson said recently. “I prefer not to play special teams. But right now I understand we have a pretty good team, and I’m in this thing 100 percent. Whatever I can do to help this team, I’m willing to do.”
Ex-Vikings safety Tank Williams saw his season come to an end Thursday night in Foxborough when he suffered a knee injury during the game. Signed by by the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent from the Vikings on March 6, 2008, his first season in New England comes to an end before it began. Williams had been working as an inside linebacker in special packages. He was placed on injured reserve by the Patriots but will be paid his entire base salary of $650,000 for the season. Williams spent two seasons (2006-07) with the Vikings.
Reports from San Francisco are that former Vikings linebacker Dontarrious Thomas has been moved from the "Ted" inside linebacker spot to the “Mike” inside linebacker spot, where he is now a backup to second-year star Patrick Willis. The scouting report on Thomas was that he wasn't good at taking on blocks, which is something "Ted" must be able to do. At Mike, he can use his athleticism to swoop in and make plays, which is what he did throughout the third quarter and second half in the ‘Niners preseason opener.
Wide receiver Troy Williamson, who was traded to Jacksonville during the offseason, was inactive for the Jaguars preseason opener against Atlanta. Williamson, who has been one of the biggest bright spots among Jaguar receivers during training camp, was held out due to minor injuries by head coach Jack Del Rio.
Former Vikings defensive end Erasmus James is still not at 100 percent with the Redskins. But he is expected to participate in position drills this week, according to Redskins executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato, in a pregame radio interview.
Division rival Detroit lost cornerback Stanley Wilson for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon, which improves the chances of former Viking Dovonte Edwards making the opening day roster with the Lions.
Word in Carolina is that former Viking wide receiver Jason Carter is currently running ahead of the more highly touted Dwayne Jarrett (a second-round pick by the Panthers a year ago) on the team’s preseason depth chart.
Unsigned safety Mike Doss, who spent last season with the Vikings, is still waiting for the phone to ring by another NFL team. In the meantime, he’s working as a volunteer for Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel in the Buckeye’s weight room.
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