Vikings go hard in last full-pads practice

The Vikings worked a number of different situations in a full-pads, full-contact practice Monday morning. The highlights are inside, along with comments from players and coaches.

The Vikings spent another relatively mild-weather day getting used to situational work on the field with full pads.

While practice was shortened by almost a half hour off the scheduled time, much of the second half of the one-hour, 45-minute practice was spent mixing it up physically on goal-line, short-yardage and blitz drills.

"That's how this game is played, whether short-yard, goal line, red zone, third down, whatever it is. Good work for us as we're winding out time down here in Mankato," said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

The other side of the ball felt that way, too.

"I think it's good for guys to be able to set their pads, to feel the physical contact. When you're going high and hard, it's one tempo. It steps up another tempo when you end up going live," said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. "It's good for them to see, and we want to make sure we put them under that condition before we send them out on Friday."

The Vikings face the Indianapolis Colts for their preseason opener on Friday night, but they are still concentrating far more on themselves than any opponent. There is still an element of coaches trying to determine players' strength and weaknesses and where they can be most effectively used.

During short-yardage work, RB Adrian Peterson lunged forward for a first down. During goal-line work, Chester Taylor was getting the carries.

But it wasn't the running game that created most of the highlights near the goal line. In the first series, Tarvaris Jackson faced third-and-goal from the 2-yard line and zipped a bullet to TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a touchdown in front of rookie safety Jamarca Sanford. On Rosenfels' first goal-line series, he and WR Sidney Rice had the play of the day when the QB fired a pass to the back of the end that Rice stopped on a dime with a one-handed catch between safety Tyrell Johnson and LB Chad Greenway.

Jackson had a good day as he continued to practice with a brace on his left knee after spraining his medial collateral ligament more than a week ago. But even if he hadn't been hurt, Jackson wouldn't be the one taking the brunt of the full-pads practice.

"(Full pads) is good for the other guys, but I'm not really into contact until the game. It's good to see guys trying to tackle us and work on basic fundamentals as far as tackling and blocking and stuff like that," Jackson said.

"You pretty much want to step on the pedal during training camp. You pretty much want to go hard the whole day."

During the full-contact drills, the first-team offense was competing against the second-team defense and vice versa, with the third-team units also facing each other. In most instances, the starters beat the backups.

"Today was one of the more physical days with the goal line, so it was a lot of fun to do that," rookie tackle Phil Loadholt said.

Peterson provided the rushing highlight of the day when he took a handoff, bounced it outside and sprinted 27 yards down the left sideline before Sanford pushed him out of bounds. Third-string running back Albert Young also looked good during the physical morning practice, but his day was highlighted by a spin moves that left safety Madieu Williams grasping at air before Young was brought down after a 13-yard reception that started near the line of scrimmage.

Jared Allen ended the practice with a sack of Rosenfels.

"It doesn't matter if we have shorts and shoulder pads on with helmets, you've got to get a little work once in a while. It's our last day of full pads so I can take it," he said.

It was the last look at the players in full pads before Friday's game – and the last full-pads practice of training camp, which ends after Wednesday's sessions.

"It was our second live scrimmage. Probably as physical as it's been for an extended time. We had some situations where it was a little bit less, but that was the most extended contact we've had," Frazier said.

MONDAY MORNING PRACTICE NOTES

  • The full-contact practice took a toll on some players. FB Naufahu Tahi was tended to but left the field under his own power when he appeared to suffer a left ankle injury. Guard Steve Hutchinson was also tended to by the training staff after a play, but he left the field under his own power. Hutchinson appeared fine a short time later.

  • Safety Husain Abdullah was the only player that didn't practice at all. He worked on a side field with the training staff.

  • With Abdullah out, undrafted rookie Colt Anderson took many of the second-team snaps at safety.

  • DE Brian Robison (hamstring) worked his way back into practice on a limited basis. He said afterwards that things went well, but he didn't participate in much full-team work. Still, he had little doubt that he will play on Friday.

  • WR Percy Harvin and Rice worked on kickoff returns.

  • Kicker Ryan Longwell was 6-for-6 on his field goal attempts.

  • Peterson and Jackson had a problem on a handoff and the ball ended up on the ground during 9-on-7 work. Peterson recovered the ball.

  • Jackson said he and Harvin are still working on their timing. "We're still learning each other. He still learning the offense and I'm still learning. But I know one thing: He's an explosive, quick guy," Jackson said.

  • Both Rosenfels and Jackson had their first series of full-team work end with a sack. DE Ray Edwards got to Rosenfels and LB Ben Leber got to Jackson.

  • Rice had another strong practice. Besides the one-handed catch in the back of the end zone, he made good effort to snatch a ball away from CB Antoine Winfield during one-on-one work for a long gain down the right sideline.

  • WR Jaymar Johnson and Jackson connected on a long pass down the left sideline when CB Benny Sapp fell, leaving Johnson wide open.

  • Rookie RB Antone Smith, signed last week after the team released WR Aundrae Allison, scored a touchdown for the third-team offense on a 5-yard run up the middle.


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