[size=18px]Vikings get a jump on learning process
It is June, right? You wouldn't know it by looking at a full field of 87 Vikings players working out at Winter Park.
Mark Craig, Star Tribune
Last update: June 08, 2006 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 12:01 AM
Brad Johnson's golf game needs some work. He's driving the ball well, but after that ...
"I still can't get in from 120 yards," said the Vikings starting quarterback. "It's been a struggle."
Unfortunately for Johnson's golf game, the NFL doesn't allow for much free time anymore. Even June, which used to be a month to relax before the start of training camp, is now filled with 14 Organized Team Activities, otherwise known simply as OTAs.
They're voluntary. Wink, wink.
"This is a copycat league, and if one team has players putting in 22 hours a day, you want to make sure your team is putting in 23," Vikings free safety Darren Sharper said. "That's just the way it is in the league now."
The Vikings are in step with that approach. The entire 87-man roster was at Winter Park for Wednesday's OTA, which was open to the media.
"With all the new things we got going on, guys know it's important to be here," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "You'll miss the bus if you're at home doing your own thing."
Defensive players are having to learn coordinator Mike Tomlin's version of the "Tampa 2" scheme. Offensive players are having to learn coach Brad Childress' version of Philadelphia's West Coast offense. There are only six more OTAs and five minicamp practices to get it down before the start of training camp in late July.
In other words, even a 15-year veteran quarterback has little time to go hit balls at the range. And this is a 15-year veteran quarterback with a Super Bowl ring and three years of experience in Tampa Bay's version of the West Coast offense.
"Everyone is working hard throughout the league, and everyone got better in free agency," Johnson said. "The biggest deal is you have to hone your fundamentals and be ready for all the schemes and schematics that come up during the regular season. That's why it's good to see everyone here working hard."
Keep an eye on this guy
He's no Randy Moss, but keep an eye on the big fella wearing Moss' old number 84. Billy McMullen, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia this offseason, has good hands and made one heck of a large slot receiver (6-4, 215) with the first team during Wednesday's OTA.
"He's a big guy who comes from Philadelphia, so he knows [Childress'] system," Johnson said. "You don't have to teach him where to go. He knows where to go, and he catches the ball. It was a great pickup because he can play right away."
Don't get too excited. All Philadelphia required in exchange for the fourth-year receiver was undrafted rookie receiver Hank Baskett.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Wondering what Childress had to say about Wednesday's workout? Sorry. The coach didn't address the media.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ More than 100 Vikings coaches and players will help build a playground at Wenonah School in Minneapolis today. They'll be there from 12:30-2 p.m.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Veteran right tackle Mike Rosenthal worked with the second team. The Vikings are intent on second-year pro Marcus Johnson starting at right tackle.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Dovonte Edwards, who made the team last year as an undrafted rookie, is working as the nickel back. He's also working as the second-team kickoff returner behind Mewelde Moore. Pro Bowl kick returner Koren Robinson didn't return kickoffs in practice Wednesday.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Receiver Troy Williamson, recovering from surgery to remove an abscess from his hip, did not practice. The Vikings hope he can return in time for the June 19-21 minicamp. Running back Ciatrick Fason also didn't practice because of an injury to his right hamstring.
Vikings get a jump on learning process