Workout challenges Jackson before camp

Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson struggled with conditioning drills Tuesday, but that's all part of getting himself ready for training camp. After going through exhausting drills in heat and humidity with some of the NFL's best, he figures to be ready for training camp in 24 days.

Tarvaris Jackson feels lucky to have worked under the heat and humidity of the Alabama sun last week before celebrating the Fourth of July weekend and returning to Minnesota to throw up.

Jackson was at the University of Minnesota practice field Tuesday morning under a hot sun working out with an all-star cast of NFL players and a Hall of Fame receiver offering advice. Unfortunately for Jackson, his first major workout back in Minnesota came right after a long weekend of food and drink, and the effects showed.

"I threw up a little water, but I didn't really eat too much before I came out here. I'm going to go drink all the water, get a little something to eat and relax," he said after a workout that left him taking a knee in between sessions of 300 yards of running.

"I did a little something (back in Alabama), but, like said, it was something a little different for me (in Minnesota). A long weekend, traveling and eating and, of course, alcoholic beverages. It hurt me a little bit."

Tuesday was just the start of the training for Jackson, who accepted the invitation extended by Cardinals Pro Bowl receiver and Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald Jr. to work with trainer Bill Welle, who has been conditioning NFL players since former Vikings receiver Cris Carter had a similar camp in Florida. Fitzgerald attended those workouts as a high school and college player and saw the benefits.

"I was able to see Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper and Robert Smith and so many other very talented players working and you saw them on Sunday making all these spectacular plays," said Fitzgerald. "But you saw the foundation was built out there on the practice field working. I saw that firsthand and try to relay that to other guys."

Fitzgerald was clearly one of the least affected by the conditioning drills that Welle put about 15 NFL players through. A regimen of 50-yard runs down and back three times left some players gasping for air in between the 300-yard runs. Fitzgerald stood in front of them barely showing the signs of exercise while many others were double over with hands on their knees.

Jackson decided to join Fitzgerald's workouts, which will go for the next three weeks, because he wanted to change up his normal routine of training in Orlando before the season.

"They're going to try to make it as hard as possible to make (training) camp seem a little easier," Jackson said. "As far as the conditioning, they did a lot of different stuff today. That's why I came up here, because I knew there would be something different for me. Just try to do something new."

Attending Fitzgerald's camp got Jackson out of his comfort zone, but Vikings receiver Jaymar Johnson warned Jackson.

"Jaymar already told me it would be kind of hard, so I already was expecting the worst. I was expecting to actually pass out today. I came close," said Jackson, who expects to work out like this four days a week until training camp.

Part of the reason Jackson attended is because of the cast of players attending the camp. In Alabama, he didn't have NFL-quality receivers to throw to, but Fitzgerald provided him with a Pro Bowl host and rookies like Eric Decker and Golden Tate, as well as veterans like Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and free-agent veteran Bobby Engram.

Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin was also in the middle of the field to inspire and educate the young receivers, and former Vikings receiver Cris Carter is expected later this week.

"I know Jaymar is going to be here and you know Larry is going to have a whole bunch of guys up here. How many times do you get a chance to watch Michael Irvin coach these guys up? Cris Carter (will) be here," Jackson said. "I was a Cowboys fan growing up, so that's probably one of the main reasons why I came on out here, came on back up. It's going to be a good workout. I know Larry is going to work hard, so that's really why I came up here."

Vikings receiver Sidney Rice, who made his first Pro Bowl last year, is also expected later this week.

That might give Jackson time enough to get in better shape to at least beat the offensive linemen also attending.

"I had linemen and everything beating me today. I can't do that. It was kind of heartbreaking when I see a lineman beating me," Jackson said with a smile. "I was real tired, but I'll be fine."

If he continues like that for the next three weeks, he'll be more than fine – he'll be ready for training camp.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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