From the Field: Thursday Morning

Tyrell Johnson is back with the defense and doing more every day, a welcome sight for a defensive backfield counting on him getting a start again on Saturday. See what Johnson and Darren Sharper had to say about the situation.

Tyrell Johnson has been thrust into a starter's role, at least for the first two preseason games, after coming to training camp with the expectation to learn behind Darren Sharper and Madieu Williams.

With Williams out indefinitely with a neck injury, Johnson made his way back onto the practice field this week after suffering an abdominal strain in Friday night's preseason opener, and he believes his time on the practice field to date has been enough to gain the confidence of the coaches.

"As of right now, I think I've gained a little bit of their respect where they're confident in putting me in there," said the second-round draft pick.

Head coach Brad Childress said if Johnson is able to play on Saturday, he will be the starter again next to Sharper, followed by a potential rotation of Eric Frampton and Dee McCann.

"They're hard workers," Sharper said of Johnson and Frampton. "Tyrell's a kid that is going to come out here every day. He's going to compete because he doesn't get flustered if he makes a mistake. He keeps his confidence, which is a good thing to have. Frampton is a guy that's going to go 100 miles an hour. His hustle and aggressiveness will a lot of times fix that mistake."

Johnson said he needs to become more familiar with all the plays, saying that people don't realized how many plays are involved on defense. The quicker he gets there, the better for the defense, which allowed two touchdowns and a field goal on Seattle's first three possessions on Friday. The Vikings will look to correct that Saturday in Baltimore.

"We definitely want to be more stout on defense than we were in the Seattle game. We don't want them to drive down the field and score like they did in their first series," Sharper said. "It would be good to get a three-and-out and also pretty much dominate the whole time the ones (first-team defenders) are out there."


  • Matt Birk returned to the field for practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday with a stomach virus.

  • DT Kenderick Allen (wrist), DE Brian Robison (leg), OL Drew Radovich (shoulder), OL Marcus Johnson and Williams all missed practice. Johnson was running on the third field while the rest of the team practiced.

  • One of the most spirited parts of the morning practice was when the offensive linemen and defensive linemen switched roles during a one-on-one drill. Jared Allen was able to easily keep Bryant McKinnie at bay and Anthony Herrera seemed to especially enjoy the action.

  • John David Booty continues to get most of the third-team work at quarterback.

  • Rookie Tim Mattran continued to get some work with the second-team offensive line at left tackle while Chase Johnson worked at right tackle.

  • WR Martin Nance had a leaping, diving catch on a pass from Gus Frerotte in the red zone.

  • WR Sidney Rice made a diving catch on a ball from Tarvaris Jackson during those drills as well.

  • Jackson wisely took advantage of a DE Martail Burnett jumping offsides and connected with TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a gain of about 20 yards.

  • On one play, Jackson surveyed the field and couldn't find an open receiver, so he lofted the ball out of bounds – far out of bounds. It sailed over a fence and hit some fans, knocking the sunglasses off one of the female fans. A security guard made the fans give the ball back, despite their urging to keep it.

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