As Tarvaris Jackson continued to be sidelined at Sunday's practice, it opened a chance for Sage Rosenfels to get many more reps with the first team and has given John David Booty an opportunity for many more reps than he likely would have seen.
And then there were two.
The Vikings' lone practice Sunday was geared to the red zone offense and gave an opportunity for Sage Rosenfels
and John David Booty
to get additional work. Tarvaris Jackson
has temporarily taken himself out of what was supposed to be the most-watched battle in camp. He spent Sunday working with the trainers, not receivers.
The results were mixed at best. Rosenfels did what he did Saturday in his first extended action without Jackson, excel at throwing accurate in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Booty, unfortunately, is much like the same quarterback we saw last year. Some of his passes overshot receivers. Others came on one-hops. One in particular nearly decapitated a fan in the end zone who wasn't paying attention.
The much-hyped quarterback competition hasn't materialized, but the Vikings have no plans at this point to bring in another quarterback. It's Rosenfels and Booty splitting the time and they're fine with it.
"I want as many reps as I can get," Rosenfels said. "This is where you start to learn your receivers and get your timing down. It's coming along and I'm ready for as many as I can get."
The main beneficiary is likely Booty. With the expected competition between Jackson and Rosenfels, Booty likely was going to get spotty reps at best and few during real scrimmage-type action, especially with the first or second team. Now he's splitting time and says it's an opportunity for him to show his ability.
"It's huge for any player to get out there," Booty said. "We've only seen the plays on paper. Now we're getting to go against it and see it firsthand. Any time you're getting those reps, you have to take advantage of them because you never know how long you're going to have them."
Childress didn't elaborate much on Jackson's condition but hinted he might return to practice in a limited role if his work in the pool with the training staff Sunday helped the healing process.
"He just stayed inside today and got treatment – the first 24 hours are always big," Childress said. "He's better served inside than he is out here."
Until Jackson gets the go-ahead to resume full-speed, it will remain Sage and J.D.B. in what passes for a QB competition. Neither of them are complaining about the extra work. They both want it, not dread it.
"These guys fight for reps typically," Childress said. "Now they're getting elevated reps. Neither one of them is turning them back to me and saying, ‘Hey, can you get someone else to get here and take these.'"
SUNDAY PRACTICE NOTES
The players didn't wear pads for the practice Sunday, but that didn't mean there weren't collisions. A scary moment came during 7-on-7 drills. Both Benny Sapp and Ben Leber were moving toward the ball and the two had a helmet-to-helmet hit that sent both to the ground. Leber was up within a few seconds, but Sapp remained on the ground for about two minutes. Initially, training staff immobilized his neck in case the injury was serious, but it turned out to be an old-school "getting your bell rung." Sapp returned to practice and Childress shrugged it off, saying, "they had a hat-to-hat. Looks like Leber has a little bit harder head than Sapp."
Wide receiver Bobby Williams returned to practice, giving the team its full complement of players with the exception of Jackson.
The special teams portion of practice gives the impression that the Vikings are exploring all of their trickery options, which could be pulled out at any point in the season. Working on kickoffs were Darius Reynaud, Jaymar Johnson, Chester Taylor, Glenn Holt, Aundrae Allison and Percy Harvin.
Childress was very animated at the practice, calling most of the down and distances himself. He yelled loudly at players when legs would get tangled and they would go to the ground, which was the cause of Jackson's injury. He was also doing a considerable amount of individual coaching with Booty – good and bad.
Allison slipped and bent his knee awkwardly on one of his kick returns, but did not leave the field.
An interesting sight on the kick return coverage was that Chris Kluwe was playing the role of wedge-buster, apparently to guarantee nobody would be injured.
Albert Young didn't do himself any favors Sunday, dropping a pair of relatively easy passes – one in the running back cone drill and the other during 7-on-7 play.
Bobby Wade appeared to tweak a knee running a route early in practice. He didn't remain sidelined for long, but was stretching the knee quite a bit throughout practice.
The Vikings gave Peterson some work in the backfield, using him a variety of roles from that spot.
Ryan Cook spent the entire practice running with the second team at right tackle. On Saturday, he took a few reps as a backup center.
While technically non-contact, it didn't keep a couple of veterans from making aggressive moves on one another. On a sideline pass to Bernard Berrian, Antoine Winfield tried to rip the ball loose and the two kept at each other out of bounds. Berrian made a point to show Winfield he didn't strip away the ball.
High winds were a factor for much of the practice, putting more of an emphasis on the short passes – which tied in nicely with working on the red zone offense for most of the day.
Visanthe Shiancoe stood out with a variety of impressive catches, taking passes that were high, low and a little too far and hauling them all in for significant gains.
Husain Abdullah made a leaping swat at a fade route in the end zone for Garrett Mills. That, along with an over-the-shoulder interception by Leber, were a couple of the defensive highlights of the afternoon.
Peterson got the crowd going by taking a run on a pitch and going 70 yards for a touchdown. He faked throwing the ball into the crowd, which got an enormous ovation.
The stands were about two-thirds full at the start of practice, but by 4 p.m., it was standing room only, indicating a crowd in excess of 2,300.