Notebook: A confident corner

Cornerback Karl Paymah is confident that the defensive coaching staff can make him a better player and that he will in turn be able to factor in the defense regularly. His proving ground could start this week with organized team activities.

Cornerback Karl Paymah, one of two outside free agents signed by the Vikings this offseason, had a similar opportunity in Denver but saw the housecleaning enacted by new head coach Josh McDaniel and believed his best opportunity came down to Minnesota or Tampa Bay.

Paymah wrestled with that decision but ultimately chose the Vikings for their defensive coaching staff. He should get his first look at some of the competition today when the Vikings start organized team activities.

"I probably went back and forth like 20 times. … Tampa had my old coach and I had to trust in him and then he really wanted me back. I got kind of caught up in the lure of Tampa. It's beautiful. They have top-notch facilities, everything. They've got a great coaching staff," Paymah said. "I think what gave the Vikings the edge is just the staff. (Defensive backs coach Joe Woods) and the defensive coordinator (Leslie Frazier) are brilliant. They're brilliant. They both one day could be up for head coaching jobs, and down in Tampa my DB coach was kind of like back and forth, different positions like special teams, linebacker. I just really wanted somebody that I'm going to be around 90 percent of the time, really knowledgeable in that position."

He's confident that the coaching staff can create a turning point in his career, one in which he has been living off his athletic abilities, he said.

"The past four years, I've really been relying on my natural talents, like my speed and just my abilities in the field. I just sat down and thought about how much I've added to my game, the mental part of the game, just learning from guys who know what they're talking about and putting me in the right situations to better myself on the field instead of just going out there and just being an athlete. It's going to be a tremendous upside."

Paymah said before the draft that he expected to compete for a role in the nickel defense. During the draft, the Vikings added more competition for him when they drafted cornerback Asher Allen in the third round.

Still, Paymah doesn't seem to lack in confidence as he talked about moving away from the Broncos and moving forward with his career.

"It's my fifth year. I've got way too much talent. I want to go out on the field and just make an impact right away, where there are no questions. I want to be around knowledgeable coaches, a great staff and guys that I trust and they know what they're doing," he said.

Paymah believes his size – he is listed at 6 feet, 195 pounds – will help him against the bigger receivers in the NFC North like Calvin Johnson while he believes in his speed against the quicker ones like Devin Hester.

In Denver's nickel package, Paymah said he was used outside more so Dre Bly could blitz from the inside more often. That could put Antoine Winfield closer to the quarterback during the Vikings' nickel defense, as their heady veteran corner who made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year proved what he could do reading and reacting while lined up across from the slot receiver.

Meanwhile, Paymah thinks he can continue a physical presence on the outside.

"I'm a big, physical corner. I could come up (and) hit. I've seen that's what they do with a lot of corners, make a big impact. I can do it," he said. "It's a good thing. You guys have got a good thing over here. It makes football fun again, to tell you the truth because in Denver, probably the last two or three years, you just wanted to go in and get up out of there. It was really your job, but it feels like high school again, where you want to come out and just fly around and make plays and you've got the confidence of your coaches and everybody. It's not really a business here. It's just really a family atmosphere and I'm looking forward to thriving in that system."


Detroit Lions offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus continues to defend his lunging block at the knee of Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Allen was starting to pursue Daunte Culpepper from left side of the offense to the right when Cherilus turned around and dove at Allen, hitting him in the knee. As trainers went to tend to Allen, he got up and started limping downfield to have words with Cherilus before being restrained and limping off the field.

"When you watch me play, one thing you expect, I'm always going to give you 110 percent," Cherilus told the Oakland Press recently. "I'm not dirty, but if I have a chance to really cross you and do my job, make it look good and make sure you have nothing to do with this play, I'll do it. But that doesn't mean I'm dirty like that. I'm not trying to hurt nobody. I'm just trying to get the job done the best that I can."

Allen said last month that both his shoulder and knee injuries suffered last year are better and he's ready to go for 2009.


  • Vikings first-round pick Percy Harvin was one of 34 of the top rookies drafted to participate in NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere last weekend. Players were photographed for trading cards, visited the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and took part in other functions. Head scans were also taken to more accurately portray them in the Madden NFL video game, set to be released in mid-August.

  • What's the difference between signing as an undrafted rookie free agent right after the draft or having to survive a rookie camp on a tryout basis? Apparently the difference for the Vikings is two years on a contract. The team's 14 undrafted free agents who signed with the team in the hours following the draft received three-year deals while center Juan Garcia and tackle Nick Urban, who were signed after the rookie camp, had to settle for one-year contracts. They all received the same base salary, $310,000, the minimum for rookies in 2009 but have different signing bonuses. Since base salaries of NFL contracts aren't guaranteed anyways, the length of the contract doesn't really portend to the prospect's future with the team anyways.

  • What do WR Glenn Holt and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy have in common? They hold the top two kickoff returns in Cincinnati Bengals history. Bieniemy has the record with a 102-yard return in 1997 while Holt's 100-yard return 10 years later is in second place.

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