http://www.startribune.com/510/story/608104.html

MANKATO - Vikings backup center Jason Whittle left practice early Thursday morning because of a rapid heart rate, but his agent, Joe Linta, said later in the day that he had talked to Whittle and he was feeling fine.

"It was a minor event," Linta said. "He got overheated and drank a lot of cold water and it was a shock to his system."

The Vikings did not want to take any chances and took Whittle off the field on a cart as they conducted 7-on-7 drills inside Blakeslee Stadium. "Obviously that's not something you fool around with, so they got him inside and got him settled down," coach Brad Childress said.

This is not the first time Whittle has experienced a rapid heart rate. It happened to the nine-year veteran a couple of times earlier in his career when he was with the New York Giants. "They did a battery of tests [at that time] and everything came back normal," Linta said.

Wrapping up early

One day after cutting the morning practice short by 15 minutes and then cancelling the afternoon session, Childress ended the morning session 45 minutes before its scheduled completion. A special teams workout in the afternoon meant several players received more rest.

No doubt this was a welcome relief for many after going through some hard-hitting days early in camp.

"You go on the pedal, and you go off the pedal," Childress said. "A lot of it is by design and a lot of it is by feel. You have to see where those guys are at. Some of it is just straight hard work. Some of it, you just have to be able to push through.

"What I told those guys [Wednesday night] is that there's a lot of training camp to go. ... [But] if you unload them mentally and you unload them physically, it's amazing what wonders that does."

Etc.

• Safety Darren Sharper (hamstring) returned to practice after being limited for a couple of days. Linebacker Marcus Lawrence also was back after being shaken up during a special teams' practice Tuesday.

• Receiver Koren Robinson said he could have practiced Thursday but was told to take a day to rest his swollen right knee. Asked if he would play Monday, Robinson said, "without question." With Koren and Marcus Robinson out, Billy McMullen got some work with the first team.

• Childress said defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin will be on the field for Monday's preseason opener against Oakland. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is expected to be in the coaches' booth to assist Childress, who will handle the play calling.

• Cornerback Charles Gordon, who had surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee on Monday, was walking without crutches Thursday and is hoping to return to the field in a couple of weeks.