Ryan Longwell and the team's other specialists finally took advantage of a free meal that was waiting for Brett Favre, who didn't show up in Mankato but did talk to Longwell twice in the last 24 hours. Plus, get notes from the final media-accessible practice of camp.
There are some times when being topical can work to your advantage.
Early on in training camp, kicker Ryan Longwell
and some of his teammates went to the Pizza Ranch, a Mankato restaurant that serves a daily buffet menu. As Longwell arrived, he saw on the building's marquee an open invitation to Brett Favre
saying "Hey Favre. Can't decide? We have chicken and pizza."
After Longwell went to the restaurant, the sign changed. This time it said, "Ryan Longwell. You can have Brett Favre's free buffet today."
Thursday between practices, he took them up on the offer. The team's specialists – Longwell, kicker Rhys Lloyd
, punter Chris Kluwe
and long snapper Cullen Loeffler
– dropped into the Pizza Ranch for their free meal.
"We met the crew and they set us up right," Longwell said. "We took some pictures in front of the sign. Obviously, as Kluwe points it out, it's been in my plan for the past 14 years to get to know Brett enough to set it up to get a free Pizza Ranch buffet."
Longwell said he and other guys enjoyed the lunch and he found a new favorite food out of the deal.
"They had something that sounded kind of disgusting – bacon cheeseburger pizza," Longwell said. "I thought I would give it a try and I ended up loving it. I probably never would have tried it otherwise. Being friends with Brett has its privileges."
P.M. PRACTICE NOTES
About 50 players took part in the final practice session, a special-teams practice that lasted about 45 minutes.
Longwell said he spoke with Favre last night and again during lunch today. He said Favre is "still in the same track and trying to get healthy." He said Favre didn't say anything about a reported meeting with Dr. James Andrews in Alabama Thursday, saying he didn't know if he was in Alabama, Hattiesburg or somewhere else. "He might be at the PGA Championship for all I know," Longwell said. The PGA Championship is being held outside Milwaukee this weekend.
Defensive end Fred Evans had his right thumb heavily taped and immobilized for the final practice.
Brad Childress said he has no updates on the status of Percy Harvin, who has been suffering from migraines following the death of his grandmother.
Asher Allen, Marcus Sherels and Ray Small did most of the work on the punt return game.
A handful of players took turns on kickoff returns – Jaymar Johnson, Greg Lewis, Darius Reynaud, Ian Johnson and Small.
Johnson had some problems on kick returns. He fumbled his first return attempt and bobbled the second.
According to several players and team personnel, this year's training camp was the consistently hottest any of them could remember.
The special teams practice was closed to the fans and several media members were a delayed getting onto the field because one of the local security personnel told them it was closed to the media. After a mild dust-up, the media members were allowed on the field. Leslie Frazier didn't break this one up.
While practices at Minnesota State-Mankato are over, the Vikings still have a closed walk-through to conduct tomorrow morning at Blakeslee Stadium before starting their caravan back to Eden Prairie.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.