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Thread: Mini-Camp Day 2

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    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Mini-Camp Day 2

    From Vikings.com

    A couple of interviews:

    Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell

    Q: What is your mentality with a young quarterback, especially when you know he's not going to play right away?
    A: It's two-fold; the first thing you're trying to do is prepare him for a mini-camp so you're trying to force feed as much information as you can to them while you are teaching them the basics. There is a lot of information that you are trying to impart on him so that he can just function and get through mini-camp, and then as soon as it's over we'll be able to slow it down and piecemeal it together.

    Q: You had experience with an older quarterback in Brett Favre. Is there a similarity in working with Brad Johnson?
    A: There are definitely similarities between the two of them. They obviously have played for a long time and they know how to run this offense. They've both played in this same West Coast-style. Like I said, they are both real knowledgeable with what's going on. It's important for me to know exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it. Brad asks a lot of questions. He wants to know why we are doing that, what is that concept going to get me, why do I want to be looking over there, and you just have to be able to tell him why we are doing it that way.

    Q: So an old dog still is learning new tricks then?
    A: Absolutely. It was the same way with Brett, the same way with Brad. If we can impart anything to them that's going to help them win and make them be successful, they are willing to listen.

    Q: What determines if you go vertical in the passing game?
    A: The offense has the ability to have deep shots built in on the majority of the plays, so really the coverage dictates the opportunity to take a shot. There are shots built in and if they are there we want to take them. We don't want to turn it into a long foul ball. We want those when we take them for them to be calculated, but there will be balls going up the field.

    Q: Now that you have Artis Hicks at right guard, how would you assess the offensive line?
    A: We are real happy with where we are right now. Obviously the acquisition of (Steve) Hutchinson and getting (Matt) Birk back and bringing Artis in, that helps solidify the line. We still have a lot of depth with some of the old vets that have been here, and we're trying to find where they fit. Guys on the offensive line that can play multiple positions end up being guys that are real valuable for your offense.

    Q: For guys like Mike Rosenthal, Adam Goldberg, and Chris Liwienski, is position flexibility a key factor?
    A: Yeah, because after you get to the 6th, 7th or 8th lineman, you can't carry 10 linemen on your roster, so the ability to be able to play more than one position is definitely helpful.

    Q: How would you assess Tarvaris Jackson's play so far?
    A: I thought he has handled it very nicely. He has handled the transition. He's a smooth athlete. He can throw the ball very well. That is stuff that excited us before, but what I am excited about now is his mental makeup, how he is picking it up, how he is handling himself in front of the team. When he steps in the huddle, he is taking command of it. He's enunciating the plays, he's starting to slow down, take a breath where you're supposed to take a breath in the plays. The plays turn into paragraphs. He's doing a really nice job with that stuff.

    Q: How much offseason work will there be in the classroom with him?
    A: We'll be working with him every day. The fortunate thing with this mini-camp is that as soon as it's over, the rookies are eligible to stay here if their school is done. He'll be here with us and we can start working with him right away. That's when we'll be able to slow it down and break everything down for him by concept and how everything fits together, and he'll be able to pick it up that way.

    Q: Is arm strength his greatest asset right now?
    A: He's got a lot of great assets, but his arm strength is definitely one. Like I said, he's a fluid athlete. He can move around, but I think he has a good mind on him. I've been real excited about that.

    Q: How much will Brad Johnson continue to work with Brad Childress with the offense?
    A: We still have 14 OTAs coming up like in two weeks, so that will be valuable time for us to continue to communicate. I think it's very important for the head coach, especially since Coach Childress is an offensive head coach, to be on the same page with the quarterback. It's important for them, as Brad said, to get together and just have some talk time, some face time, so they can understand one another. Brad Johnson is willing to do whatever we ask him to do, so I think it's important for us just to impart to him our philosophy, what we are trying to get done and why we are trying to do it, and then he jumps in with both feet.

    Q: Realistically what can you expect from Tarvaris Jackson this weekend?
    A: We wanted to see, first of all, what he is able to do within our offense. Like I said, we are force feeding him so much stuff that we're trying to also see his ability to think, make rational decisions while he is out there and make them very quickly, and we've been able to see that. He's done a nice job of doing that.

    Defensive Coordinator Mike Tomlin

    Q: Can you talk about the competition at middle linebacker? Do you have a number one guy there right now?
    A: We do not, but we have some strong candidates. We have some guys that are working. A lot of those things ultimately won't be determined until we play football in pads. It's a collision game, and we're running around in shorts. We take it with a grain of salt what we see right now. That's a violent position, and that thing will be determined with the pads on.

    Q: If you could boil it down to a couple of things, what are you looking for from that position?
    A: Something goes with being the guy that stands in front of the huddle. You have to have a man in front of that huddle with some presence. We feel like all those guys have those kind of qualities, but aside from those things, you have to be a football player. You have to be an instinct football player. You have to be able to play on a horizontal field, but you also have to be able to play on a vertical field. I think a lot has been written and said about that with what we are schematically, the demands that come with that position. You have to be able to play on a vertical field, and all those guys are capable of that. It's not about capable, it's about instinctual. How quickly can they process information? That's what we're exploring right now playing multiple guys at that spot.

    Q: Would you be more comfortable knowing who that guy is now or are you okay with finding out during training camp?
    A: If I'm looking for comfort, I need to find a new line of work. It's a continual process. I'm not going to lose sleep on the fact that that's not sorted out right now. The reality is if we're trying to be the best that we can be, we'll have an open mind regarding a lot of positions this time of year.

    Q: Can you talk about the guys that are competing at that position?
    A: E.J. Henderson of course has a history of playing a Mike back in a 4-3 scheme. He's an instinct football player. He's doing some things well. He has nice short space quickness. He's a quick key guy; his see-to-do is very quick. Napoleon Harris is also a guy that plays some Mike. When I was down in Tampa in '02, we played Oakland in the Super Bowl, and he was the Mike back for the Oakland Raiders. People tend to forget that. He's done some nice things. Dontarrious Thomas is another guy that definitely has some vertical skills and the ability to play in a vertical space, so he's doing some things well also.

    Q: Are you a big blitz-type coach? If you are, will you let the linebackers and defensive line work together and stunt off each other?
    A: We're going to do what we're capable of doing, and what I mean by that will be week to week. Some weeks we'll blitz and some weeks we won't, but when we do, we will give those guys freedom to work and feed off of each other. I think that's part of it.

    Q: Talk about Erasmus James.
    A: You can't question his pedigree. He's a big athlete; he has all the physical tools in the world, but like a lot of guys going into the second year, he needs to work on the skill-development element of it. He's doing so. I'm very pleased with him, his attitude, and the way he approaches his work. He has a chance to be a really good player, and his snaps are going to determine that. He understands that, and that's what he's working toward this offseason.

    Q: Did Fred Smoot need to be bulkier to play in this defense?
    A: He was 200 (pounds) when I got here or at the beginning of our relationship, so I can't evaluate what he was compared to what he is. This is all I know him as, and he's doing good things. I think that was more of a personal thing from his standpoint, dealing with the injury that he suffered last year and not having been injured before. Sometimes the realities of the violent football game come home in those instances.

    Q: Are you trying to get a lot of your defensive backs mixing and matching with each other?
    A: Absolutely, like I said earlier, it's having an open mind. We have an open mind at Mike linebacker and we have an open mind in the secondary. We're not looking for harmony. Harmony is usually an untruth at this time of year. We're going to have an open mind and let the play sort itself out.

    Q: What do you see from Cedric Griffin?
    A: Aside from what we saw that sparked our interest in the draft - he was a very physical corner, probably the most physical corner in the draft, but he's big, he's long, he can run. He has nice body control. Like a lot of young guys, he has a lot of things to do as far as technique, but that's why we're here. He's a bright-eyed guy, so we're excited about him.

    Q: What has Ben Leber shown you so far?
    A: Ben has done some really good things. He has a quiet way about him, but he's wired him. He's a mentally tough guy; he plays snap to snap. He doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve, and that's a positive. We're excited about him. He's your classic blue-collar guy that puts in a day's work and gets better every day.

    Q: What about Chad Greenway? What has he shown you so far?
    A: He's really done some good things. To be quite honest with you, he needs to do a better job of hustling, but I say that and we're giving him extra reps. He's taking reps with the 2nd group, the 3rd group, and he got a couple reps with the 1st group, and then we're getting on his butt about hustling. It kind of comes with the territory. We want to accelerate his learning curve, and at the same time he understands the good and bad that comes with being Chad Greenway.

    Q: Is it nice to get a young kid like that in there and teach him how to work hard right away rather than a veteran who might not be as motivated?
    A: Yeah, I'm one to believe that if a guy comes willing to work, young and old, if they take the coaching they'll be fine. So I'm not going to pre-judge a veteran player and say they would be resistant to it because in fact, they haven't been, and I'm excited about how they're all approaching the package.

    Q: How is the transition for you from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator?
    A: That's the toughest thing going on out here. No, it's been fun. I've lived it so many times in my mind that it doesn't feel like the first time for me. I'm having fun and enjoying the fact that I can interact with not only the secondary but the linebackers and d-line as well. There are times I wish I had the close intimate relationships with a few guys like you get when you coach a position, but I'm definitely not going to complain about it. I'm having fun.

    Q: How long does it take for you to trust rookies out on the field?
    A: I wish there was a cookie-cutter answer to that. I guess you deal with every man differently. It's just how quickly he's able to show consistency in his play, and I think the truest measure of trust of mental toughness is consistency. If a guy jumps in and he's quickly consistent, you'll quickly trust him. If he's not, it takes a while. That's what trust is about basically, knowing what you're going to get from a man, and not necessarily the splash plays but the level of play. Where is his floor in terms of what you're going to expect from him play in and play out?

    Q: How have you kept tabs on Ronyell Whitaker in NFL Europe?
    A: I get reports on him and I watch games, and I guess he's lighting it up. He's doing well, but that doesn't surprise me; I've known that young man for a long time. He has great football character. He has ridiculous work habits. He's going to come in here fighting. He's not going to take a backseat to anyone, and it's going to be fun to watch those guys sort themselves out.

    Special Teams Coordinator Paul Ferraro

    Q: Have you given much thought to how you are going to use Koren Robinson?
    A: As far as I have been told, right now Koren Robinson is our kickoff returner. Now we're going to have some other people back there because certainly in the course of the game he might need a blow, but he's looking forward to being back there. I mean he was in the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, and we're excited about still having him in that position.

    Q: Will you normally have multiple people back there to return?
    A: We're always going to have a second returner back there just in case the ball is kicked in a place where maybe a single returner can't retrieve the ball. We're still going to have a primary returner and what we call an off returner that will be back there to field the ball if he needs to but really in more of a position to block for us.

    Q: Is there anyone in particular that you're looking at to play that second returner position?
    A: Well there are a bunch of the players that are in here right now. Ciatrick Fason is taking some reps, some of the free agents that have come in, so we'll have four or five or six different returners back there getting some repetitions and give us a chance to evaluate all of them.

    Q: Is Mewelde Moore your main punt returner?
    A: Yeah, as a punt returner, Mewelde is still going to be our punt returner, yes, and again, we'll work some other people there also.

    Q: How does Ryan Hoag fit into the special teams?
    A: Ryan is doing some nice things. We've got him out at gunner taking some reps there. He is returning punts and kickoffs for us, so he is showing some great effort, some good awareness and feet and change of direction, so he's had a nice camp so far.

    Q: What impressed you about John Torp at the combine?
    A: Well you know what, at the combine, he had an average combine. Really, nobody at the combine, in my opinion, had a great combine as a punter or as a kicker. But we looked at John over the course of his career, and we think he has tremendous upside on top of the fact that he is a lefty. The average person doesn't realize that trying to field a punt off of a lefty is completely different than off of a righty. So it gives us a righty and a lefty here in camp, which helps us also from a return standpoint that we're able to field those kicks. The majority of the punters in this league are righties, but there are lefties, so it gives us both things on both sides.

    Q: So is Torp a good insurance policy for Chris Kluwe?
    A: Yeah, I mean he is, but he is here to compete also. He's not here just to be that, I mean he is in here and he wants a chance to compete and he's going to have that (opportunity).

    Q: How far is Chris from being able to punt again?
    A: He's on schedule, which, basically from what I have been told, that means some time just prior to training camp.

    Q: Whom do you see as the holder?
    A: We know Brad Johnson can do it, but I believe our punter should be our primary holder. We've got all that time that we have during practice to work on that, but certainly, Brad Johnson has done it, he's done a good job of it, so we know that in a bind or in a situation where we feel more comfortable doing that we will do that, but I want to give our punter the opportunity to be our holder because again, because of the amount of time they spend together during the course of practice working on that.

    Q: Today at practice there were a great deal of awareness drills. Do you place a value on special teams awareness?
    A: We do; we try to. Just as an offense or defense tries to put those players in a specific situation that's going to come up in a game, we do the exact same thing. So that drill you saw today, we're specifically working on being able to pin the ball inside the 10-yard line on a plus 50 punt. So yes, we try to break down all of the different phases of the kicking game into specifics that are going to come up during the game and have our players be aware that this is the situation, this is what we want to get done, and don't be surprised by it because we haven't practiced it, so yes.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  2. #2
    Vikes_King's Avatar
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    a lot of good shit there, thanks for the post


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  3. #3
    viks_fan21's Avatar
    viks_fan21 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    Good stuff. Also, I just heard tonight that NFL Network will televise all preseason games. I'm so excited because living in Kansas City I only got to see one preseason game of ours last year (against the Chiefs).

  4. #4
    BadlandsVikings's Avatar
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    Thanks for info cojo.

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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    great read, I like the way our new coordinators are carrying themselves.

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    olson_10's Avatar
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    good thing koren is staying as our returner..you cant take a pro bowl returner out of that position..last year was the first time in years that we have actually been happy with our return game on a weekly basis, so there is no sense in messing with that chemistry and sure thing success
    People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.

  7. #7
    renovikesfan is offline Coordinator
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    Q: Whom do you see as the holder?
    A: We know Brad Johnson can do it, but I believe our punter should be our primary holder. We've got all that time that we have during practice to work on that, but certainly, Brad Johnson has done it, he's done a good job of it, so we know that in a bind or in a situation where we feel more comfortable doing that we will do that, but I want to give our punter the opportunity to be our holder because again, because of the amount of time they spend together during the course of practice working on that.
    ==============================================

    Personally, I'd like to see what Barrick Nealy could do as a holder for some fake FGs. I wonder how he's doing overall in the minicamps?

  8. #8
    Warp's Avatar
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    Yeah very nice read right there. I like the way the Coaches are handling things so far. Vikings future is bright! :grin: (well if we can get a damn stadium done here!)

  9. #9
    UndisputedVike's Avatar
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    Woah Smoot is up to 200, Wow. He was what around 170-180. Hopefully it's all muscle lol, but I read somewhere he got hurt again in Minicamp...

  10. #10
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    Re: Mini-Camp Day 2

    I'm likin' what I'm hearin' so far..

    Keep it up boys!

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