Vikings' Robinson faces court date in Washington

http://www.startribune.com/510/story/626903.html

Koren Robinson will have to go before a judge in Kirkland, Wash., before the Vikings wide receiver sets foot in the Nicollet (Minn.) County courthouse in October.
The court administrator in Kirkland said Monday that Robinson has a Sept. 26 date set for a judge to rule whether he violated the terms of his probation last week when he engaged in a high-speed chase with police officers from Mankato, North Mankato and St. Peter as well as Blue Earth County.

The pursuit, which began as Robinson traveled at 100-plus miles per hour, lasted 15 miles down Hwy. 169. He was eventually charged with one count of felony fleeing and two counts of fourth-degree drunken driving, along with reckless driving, careless driving and driving after suspension. Robinson is due in court in Nicollet County on Oct. 17.

Robinson is on a 24-month probation after being arrested for drunk driving on May 6, 2005, in Washington. His blood-alcohol content registered 0.191 percent. He pled guilty to driving under the influence in July 2005 and was sentenced to one day in jail with 364 days suspended.

Judge Albert Raines ordered the probation for Robinson. The court administrator said no judge has been assigned to the case yet. Robinson is expected to have to attend the hearing.

Robinson's future with the Vikings remains uncertain. He hasn't returned to the team since his arrest late last Tuesday night.

"I'm still gathering," coach Brad Childress said Monday when asked about Robinson. "There is a little bit more information that I need to have."

Robinson's future could be determined by the NFL. He is a "Stage 3" member of the league's substance-abuse policy, meaning that another violation would mandate a yearlong suspension. Alcohol is not among the NFL's list of banned substances; league spokesman Greg Aiello said last week that every player in the program must follow a prescribed treatment plan. The details of Robinson's treatment plan are confidential. But given his past problems with alcohol, it almost certainly includes a sobriety clause.

Robinson's lawyer in the state of Washington, Jon Scott Fox, did not return calls Monday.

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Offord update
Monday, August 21st, 2006 by Judd Zulgad Safety Willie Offord said he took part in all of Monday morning’s practice — the media was only allowed to watch the first 30 minutes — but will undergo further tests today on his injured right wrist.

Offord is wearing a soft cast on his wrist, which at the very least was badly sprained Saturday against Pittsburgh. The veteran backup is confident that no matter what the tests show he will be able to play Friday night against Baltimore. “It wouldn’t be nothing to hold me out,” he said.

An update on the other players who sat out Monday: Linebacker Rod Davis has a bruised quadriceps and tight end Richard Owens has a back contusion. Remaining out were receiver Kevin Kasper (high ankle sprain); running back Mewelde Moore (knee); linebacker Marcus Lawrence (knee); and cornerback Charles Gordon (knee).

By the way, left tackle Bryant McKinnie had a much smaller wrap on his injured left hand Monday. McKinnie has been wearing a club-like device since suffering the injury early in training camp. He has made it clear he won’t be wearing an oversized cast when the regular season opens Sept. 11 at Washington.




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Quick return
Monday, August 21st, 2006 by Judd Zulgad Only being allowed to watch a half-hour of practice means this blog gets updated that much quicker. By this point it’s no longer breaking news but it’s clear that Tarvaris Jackson is the second-team quarterback. Jackson took the majority of snaps with the second team in seven-on-seven drills. How it unfolded after that is anyone’s guess.

A word of caution for those folks who work around Winter Park and used to use their lunch break to catch a glimpse of practice: don’t even think about it. A fence, complete with a tarp covering, has been installed around the practice fields. A security guard also was spotted around the street area.

This is a shame for one simple reason. You’re missing getting a look at the work George Toma has done on the practice fields. Those things have never looked better.

As for injuries, safety Willie Offord was on the field despite a sprained wrist. There’s a good chance he won’t/didn’t take part in team activities. Not dressed for practice were tight end Richard Owens; and linebackers Marcus Lawrence and Rod Davis.






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Back at Winter Park
Monday, August 21st, 2006 by Judd Zulgad Mankato might be a memory but there are still two more preseason games to go before the Vikings open the regular season on Sept. 11 at Washington. The team will continue to conduct two-a-day practices in Eden Prairie this week, although fans won’t be able to watch and media will only get to see the first half-hour of the morning practice.

From the comments made by Brad Childress after Saturday night’s victory at Pittsburgh, look for the Vikings to have a bit more urgency when they step on the field Friday night to play host to Baltimore. Childress wasn’t very happy with how either his offense or defense started and he had good reason. Granted the Steelers came out in a no-huddle but it should not be that easy to move down the field.

As for the offense, the quarterback situation has gotten very interesting. Tarvaris Jackson looked good again Saturday, while Mike McMahon has disappointed. If you haven’t already, check out Kevin Seifert’s piece on the QBs at http://www.startribune.com/510/story/625490.html

No. 2 QB fast becoming No. 1 question mark

http://www.startribune.com/510/story/625490.html

Midway through Brad Childress' first preseason with the Vikings, an odd set of questions has emerged: Is Tarvaris Jackson winning the No. 2 quarterback job? Or is Mike McMahon simply losing it?
It was difficult to tell in the aftermath of a 17-10 victory Saturday night at Pittsburgh, where Jackson produced a solid outing while playing with the first- and second-teams. McMahon, on the other hand, played so poorly he was benched -- or, some might argue, put out of his misery -- midway through the fourth quarter.

Given the league-wide importance of backup quarterbacks, the Vikings might be forced to re-evaluate their plan for McMahon to back up starter Brad Johnson. If so, they will have to decide quickly whether Jackson is ready to fill that role or whether they will have to pluck another veteran off another team's roster or the waiver wire.

Without question, Jackson was the Vikings' second-best quarterback in training camp. He displayed a live and accurate arm, appeared poised in most situations and showed an innate feel for finding an open receiver.

In two preseason appearances, he has compiled a tidy 95.8 passer rating. Jackson nearly knocked himself silly with a few open-field running moves Aug. 14 against Oakland, but Saturday night he remained in the pocket and completed nine of 11 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Childress has been candid in assessing players during his brief tenure, and he has yet to say Jackson is NFL-ready. Childress called Saturday's performance "efficient" and said "he's played fairly well the last couple of weeks."

Coaches are developing Jackson for the long term and are moving him along one level at a time, as most teams do with rookie quarterbacks. But for now, Jackson has been asked to master less of the offense than starter Brad Johnson, McMahon or even J.T. O'Sullivan.

While Jackson has responded to everything directed his way, there is an important distinction to be made between executing plays and running an offense. The Vikings have Jackson focused on the former, but a successful No. 2 quarterback must excel at the latter.

Which brings the discussion to McMahon, who played for Childress with Philadelphia last year and should have entered training camp with a veteran's understanding of the offense and his role. Instead, McMahon is having more trouble running Childress' scheme than any quarterback on the roster.

Saturday night, his only completion in seven attempts came on what appeared to be a broken play. Receiver Jason Carter caught a swing pass that could have been intended for tight end Richard Angulo; Carter took advantage of the Steelers' defensive confusion and broke loose on the sideline for a 42-yard gain.

Otherwise, McMahon forced several passes downfield and was inaccurate on a series of short passes. Childress was clearly upset about a third-quarter interception, on a forced pass to receiver Billy McMullen, and ended McMahon's night after two incompletions and a sack prevented the Vikings from running time off the clock in the fourth quarter.

Childress deferred an assessment on McMahon's play, saying he wanted to reevaluate whether McMahon faced a heavy rush or whether receivers had run their routes correctly.

But McMahon acknowledged he is out of whack.

"I just wasn't comfortable out there," he said. "I probably need to relax and just trust the offense. ... It's just a thing where next time I'll have to do better. I can't worry or try to think about where I stand with [coaches] now."

No, that's for Childress and his staff. The raw numbers are frightening. McMahon has completed two of 11 passes this preseason, a galling percentage underscored by the conservative approach the Vikings have taken with their passing game. Together, Johnson and Jackson -- running the Vikings offense -- have completed 30 of 41 passes.

McMahon is pressing, forcing passes and trying to make a loud impact in an offense that doesn't always call for one.

The good news is that Johnson's superb preseason and his continued good health have minimized the problem. The bad news? The Vikings' rainy-day scenario remains clouded in haze.