Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson is hoping to practice at least some from the outset of training camp practices, which start this afternoon. Henderson is returning from a fractured femur suffered last December.
Even the practices will feel good to E.J. Henderson
The Vikings middle linebacker fractured his femur last December while playing against the Arizona Cardinals
and has gone through another offseason of rehabilitation. On Thursday, as he checked in for a training camp in which he hoped to start practicing on at least a limited basis, he was looking forward to his return to action.
"(I'm) not really nervous," Henderson said. "I'm anxious to get back out there. I'm anxious to get back in the swing of things – participate in the full practice, practice in the two-a-days, just getting back to being a middle linebacker."
He might be the most anxious of the 80 players as the Vikings check in for two weeks of two-a-day practices in the heat of Mankato's summer.
The long-term focus of the team isn't just on the doldrums of camp. The players have their sights set on getting better and preparing for a regular season that starts Sept. 9 against the New Orleans Saints
, a rematch of the NFC Championship Game that left the Vikings losers in overtime.
"Of course our expectations are high after finishing the season that we had last year," Henderson said. "I'm sure everybody has the same mindset. I'm sure coach (Brad Childress) is going to come in preaching that from the start. It starts today. You have to put in that grind and there has to be steps. I know one goal is to the win the NFC North – like it is every year – and we go from there."
The Vikings will start with an afternoon practice Friday, then go into a series of two-a-day practices before receiving their first off day next Sunday, nine days into the process.
For now, the focus is on the immediate task at hand.
"We know what a grind it is," Henderson said. "We know how long the season is. We realize that we don't play until Sept. 9. At the same time, it's hard to worry about anything else besides working right now. The coaches instilled that in us. We have enough veteran players that realize that it's time to work, that it's time to put in that work and not really about what's to be or what is going to happen. Just in to work and grind and everything will work out."
The Vikings got second-round cornerback Chris Cook signed Thursday, dropping the list of unsigned Vikings draft picks to one – second-round running back Toby Gerhart. Cook said he wasn't concerned about getting a deal struck before the start of camp, saying, "I wasn't really worried about that. I knew it was going to get done and I was just ready to come out and perform and get on the field. I've been waiting for a while."
Rookie offensive lineman Chris DeGeare is a testament to the importance of the minicamp season. He said that he has absorbed much more of the playbook than expected, saying, "I got very comfortable. It's amazing how getting the repetitions and seeing yourself on film really helps. It is crazy how fast you can learn the playbook. I was comfortable. I have been away from it for a few weeks now and looking forward to getting back into it."
Independence candidate for Governor of Minnesota Tom Horner laid out a proposal to get a new Vikings stadium done. His proposal includes a fixed roof stadium with the Vikings paying for approximately 40 percent of the project cost.
Former Vikings owner Red McCombs is in the U.S. Tax Court after being accused of entering into variable prepaid forward contracts that have been used by wealthy businessmen to diversify away from concentrated stock positions. McCombs may have reason for concern. In a similar tax court case, fellow billionaire Philip Anchutz's use of the prepaid forward contracts model resulted in a ruling last week that claimed he owes $110 million in back taxes and interest that could reach as much as $40 million more.
From the crazy money thrown to bad, the Broncos signed Tim Tebow to a massive, incentive-laden deal said to be five years worth up to $33 million. It will be difficult if not impossible for the late-first round rookie QB to earn all of the incentives written into the contract. Based on what people saw at the Senior Bowl, he could end up being a JaMarcus Russell style bust in the pros.