The Vikings offense showed a number of new looks on Saturday, and on Sunday head coach Brad Childress lightened the mood by wearing a hat that drew the interest and comments of several players and media members. He talked about the look. Plus, get highlights from the final practice of minicamp and more notes.
Brad Childress put a light end to the four training camp practices on Sunday when he donned a visor with a wig of spiked brown hair that had more highlights than a stale offense.
Childress had actually worn the hat to Senior Bowl practices in Alabama in January, when he had a scruffy beard and sunglasses to compete his incognito look. This time, however, he brought it out for his players (and the local media) to see after purchasing the hat in Florida.
"I was talking to a man (in Florida) that had a white-haired version of this with spiked hair. My wife was with me. Never met him before, but as I talked to him, during our conversation he said something like, ‘I'm exactly like you.' I kind of had a meeting with myself as I was talking to him and thought, What part of you is exactly like me?
" Childress said. "… As I was thinking that to myself, he gave it one of these deals (lifting his hat to reveal his bald head). It's like you guys expect to see one thing and then you see another, it takes you aback – just like the players out here today. It's amazing what our brain can tell our mind. He told me where he got it and my wife walked right in and got one with a little beard and some sunglasses. I was pretty much incognito at the Senior Bowl."
Childress found it to be advantageous to avoid some coaches he knew would be looking for jobs at the Senior Bowl. He also fooled members of his staff by wearing it in January. His players probably had a little different reaction on Sunday.
"Probably some of their thoughts were: The guy's in crisis right now, mid-life problem,
" Childress admitted.
"It's kind of in honor of Jared's mullet. He told me there's a website specifically dedicated to mullet's and this is about as good as I can do," Childress said.
Childress' top-dressed visor lacked the long hair in back needed to complete a mullet look, but it was still the entertainment topic of the day.
"I understand this morning that there was a young man arrested here in the United States, a high school student, and they took him in and cut his mullet," Childress said. "That was national news this morning. I told Jared, ‘You'd better be ready to fight if you're wearing that haircut every day.'"
Childress said he probably wouldn't be wearing the hat for a national television audience on Sundays, using the lack of a league-sponsored logo as an excuse. Plus, it works better on a cool January day in Alabama than it does on a warm May day in Minnesota.
"It's a better winter hat because it can get quite warm underneath here," Childress said, just waiting for the interview to end before removing it to feel the familiar breeze rolling across his scalp.
SEVEN-ON-SEVEN RED ZONE HIGHLIGHTS
Tarvaris Jackson struggled in his first series of seven-on-seven red zone work on Sunday. His first two throws were batted down by defenders, with safety Tyrell Johnson involved in both. Jackson also fired a short bullet that Bobby Wade couldn't handle, but the quarterback did get the benefit of an impressive leaping catch by Percy Harvin in the back of the end zone on a pass that barely cleared the outstretched hands CB Marcus Walker.
Sage Rosenfels looked more decisive and accurate. He had one pass to Bernard Berrian that wasn't completed over the middle, but he came back and threw a perfect pass over CB Benny Sapp that Berrian came down with in the back corner of the end zone. Rosenfels also drilled a touchdown pass to TE Jim Kleinsasser between CBs Karl Paymah and Walker, who ended up colliding on the play.
John David Booty connected on a few touchdown passes in red zone work, hitting Visanthe Shiancoe in the middle of the end zone and WR Nick Moore, but Booty was also the victim of a bobbled pass to TE Jeff Dugan that LB Kenny Onatulu intercepted.
Rosenfels had a solid full-team session as well, connecting with WR Jaymar Johnson, Shiancoe and Harvin before Paymah knocked down a pass intended for WR Glenn Holt.
Jackson looked a little better in the full-team work. He connected with Kleinsasser in the middle, TE Garrett Mills on a rollout, and benefitted from a great catch from WR Sidney Rice, who hauled in a fade pass in the end zone despite early contact from Paymah.
The Vikings will resume practices on Tuesday with a voluntary four-day session. Unlike the first week of organized team activities, Childress invited all the players for this week's session.
Childress on what the team accomplished over the weekend: "A ton of good things. A ton of good exposures here and just kind of starting the competitive process of the 11-on-11 part. All of them have done great individual work in terms of reshaping their body and working on the things that might have been weaknesses."
Percy Harvin dropped one of the first punts of practice on Sunday.
Ryan Cook and Brian Daniels each took reps with the first-team offense at right guard. Cook also took a few turns at right tackle when rookie Phil Loadholt wasn't in the lineup.
Rookie safety Colt Anderson, who attended Friday and Sunday's practices, was ill on Saturday.
Rookie running back Kahlil Bell wasn't able to attend minicamp because of an NFL rule that doesn't allow rookies to participate until their college session is done. Childress expected him to finish in the next few days and attend the upcoming organized team activities.
CB Antoine Winfield was the only player absent for the entire minicamp. Childress said on Friday that Winfield was attending the funeral of a friend's mother. He wasn't sure if Winfield would attend OTAs this week. He said hasn't spoken to Winfield in the last few days.
"I have not. I'm focused on this set of camps, it's kind of minute-by-minute here in terms of what we do with our guys and how we work this thing," Childress said. "… I'm sure we'll communicate sometime before Tuesday."
Winfield is in the final year of his contract with the Vikings.