Notebook: Offensive line becoming clearer

The Vikings are starting to get back some players that had offseason surgery, which is bringing the line close to full strength. See how it is shaping up and get other notes and quotes on John David Booty, Sage Rosenfels and two former Vikings.

Offensive linemen rarely make the headlines, but this year there are a number of storylines surrounding the Vikings' offensive line. John Sullivan is expected to make his first NFL start while replacing former Pro Bowler Matt Birk. Second-round draft pick Phil Loadholt will be interesting to follow throughout his rookie season, as he is also expected to earn a starting job at right tackle.

That creates a scenario where two players who have never even played on the offensive line in an NFL regular-season game will be starting there. So when guard Anthony Herrera and utility offensive lineman Artis Hicks both started to work their way back into the rotation following offseason surgery for each of them, it didn't get much attention. Both were limited quite a bit during the team's three-day minicamp, but last Thursday they were working with the first-team offense.

"It's just a part of their protocol. They have done all of the rehab. They have started the heavy lifting regimen again. They are able to put their hands on bags and punch bags," head coach Brad Childress said. "They are kind of chomping at the bit. They would like to be out here included in some of these things, but they are doing a decent job coaching right now."

Herrera said he expected to be ready for training camp, and Hicks likely will too.

Up until last week, Ryan Cook and Brian Daniels had been working with the first-team offense at right guard in place of Herrera. Cook had also been getting a little time at right tackle, where he started most of last season.

"The good thing with minicamps is you're getting to see a lot of guys in a lot of different situations. You are getting to see them at different spots," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Ryan Cook, he has played tackle, he has played guard. … As an offensive line you have to be able to be flexible. You have to have guys that can play tackle and then the guys that can play inside, whether it's guard or center. So we are getting to move them around. We are getting to see a lot of Phil. We are getting to see a lot of other guys that are in there getting a lot of good reps."


Childress said second-year player John David Booty has reshaped his body during the offseason, becoming a leaner player. More importantly, he's starting to get a better grasp of the offense and is making a good progression in his second season.

"It is typical because it is not all new. I think it slows down for them to where they can look at some of the fine points of what's happening on the other side of the football and making a pre-snap decision and being quicker as they drop in making that decision they have in those three seconds that they are dropping back," Childress said.

Booty is currently the third-string quarterback on a position that is four deep.


Aaron Wilson of reported that two former Vikings – wide receiver Travis Taylor and tight end Jermaine Wiggins – were among a contingent of former NFL players to try out for the new United Football League. Former Vikings coach Dennis Green, who is coaching the San Francisco franchise in the UFL, ran the workouts.


  • Quarterback Sage Rosenfels joked about his abilities as a receiver when the Vikings go to a version of the Wildcat offense and spread him out wide. "The receivers don't want to see it because they might be out of a job and I might be changing positions," he said. "People talk about Ed McCaffrey and those types of things with me. No, I enjoy playing quarterback and I'm going to stick with it."

  • Rosenfels seems well aware that the Vikings are a run-first team with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, but he believes the presence of Peterson can create some big opportunities for the receivers. "(The receivers) are really hungry and the passing game hasn't been high in the league, which is fine because (the top) passing teams usually don't go far in the playoffs or anything. I think we definitely want to improve the passing game, get more efficient, create more big plays. I think if we use play-action with Adrian and the running backs that we have, that can set up some really big plays with the other receivers on the field."

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