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with Sean Jensen and Don Seeholzer

Stop back often because Sean and Don regularly posts updates to your comments. Leave your comments and questions by clicking on the comments link below each post.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sitting pretty

With their top five draft choices still unsigned, including No. 1 pick Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have some contractual work to do before players report to training camp July 25, but they aren't hurting for cash.

In fact, according to figures compiled by's Len Pasquarelli, the Vikings are $20.076 million under the salary cap.

That's the third-highest total in the NFL, behind only Cleveland ($21.968 million) and Buffalo ($21.053 million).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Peterson profiled

Rookie Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be one of five NFL players featured next week in ESPN's "Day in the Life" series.

The Peterson feature, scheduled to run Wednesday on SportsCenter and Thursday on NFL Live, centers on last weekend's visit to his hometown of Palestine, Texas, when a parade was held in his honor.

Fan fun

The Vikings held a morning news conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato to announce Alltel Wireless as the team's new training-camp sponsor and show off the school's renovated practice fields.

They also announced some special fan opportunities, starting July 28, when 50 fans visiting Alltel's Freedom Rig will be rewarded with two tickets to the sponsor's VIP tent, sideline passes and a tailgate party.

Among the other special events scheduled are Alumni Day (Aug. 3), Season-Ticket Owner Days (July 28 and Aug. 6) and Fan Appreciation Day (Aug. 15).

Rookies and veterans report to training camp July 25 and the first practices are July 27.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vikings training camp schedule

The Vikings posted the training camp schedule on its website:

FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007
9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
3:00-5:00 PM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
12:00 PM Cheerleader Clinic
3:00-5:00 PM PRACTICE

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2007
3:00-5:00 PM PRACTICE

MONDAY, JULY 30, 2007
9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
3:00-5:00 PM PRACTICE

TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2007
9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
3:00-5:00 PM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
2:15-3:30 PM PRACTICE



9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
2:45-3:30 PM PRACTICE

3-A-Day Dairy Kids Day
9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
2:45-3:30 PM PRACTICE


3:30-5:30 PM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE

9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE

Fan Appreciation Day
9:00-11:15 AM PRACTICE
2:45-3:30 PM PRACTICE

Alexander signs contract

Linebacker Rufus Alexander, the Vikings' sixth-round pick, has agreed to terms on a four-year deal. Terms of the deal were not announced.

The Vikings also released S Jeremy Burnett, LB George Hall and WR Paris Hamilton.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Winfield back on board

Whatever rift existed between cornerback Antoine Winfield and the Vikings apparently has been mended.

Coach Brad Childress announced today that Winfield, who except for the mandatory June 1-3 minicamp hasn't participated in the team's offseason program, would be at Winter Park on Monday for the final two days of organized team activities.

"I'm excited to have his leadership back here," Childress said. "He's a talented veteran."

Childress wouldn't say what prompted his starting cornerback's change of heart, deferring those questions to Winfield and his agent.

Winfield wasn't immediately available for comment, but agent Ashanti Webb said the ninth-year veteran and Childress were able to open up the lines of communication during a series of conversations they had over the last 3-4 weeks.

"The real positive of this has been the relationship he and Brad have been able to solidify," Webb said. "Sometimes it takes something like this to get everybody on the same page."

Winfield indicated at minicamp that his absence was related to the Vikings not doing enough to improve their offense during the offseason, not contract-related, and Webb said there was no adjustment to his deal.

"He's fine with his contract," Webb said. "It was never about that."

As a coach, Childress said he's happy to have one of his best defensive players back on board.

"I think it always is (a relief) from a coach's standpoint that your focus is on the 2007 season," he said, "and we're not opening up training camp waiting to see who's in, who's out and what frame of mind they're in. He's in a good place, he's highly conditioned and talented and he's a valuable leader of our football team."

Childress said the missed voluntary practices shouldn't be a problem for Winfield and that there are no hard feelings on either side.

"We're all kind of mother hens as coaches," he said. "You'd like to have everybody around you all the time, but that's just not the NFL these days, particularly if someone has personal issues he's working through."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gridiron gallop

The Vikings will hold their inaugural Gridiron Gallop, a 5K fun run/walk, Sunday at Lake Nokomis.

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak will serve as official starter for the event, proceeds of which will go to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board youth athletic programming, and Vikings players and cheerleaders will be on hand to sign autographs.

Cost is $25 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under.

Check-in and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Lake Nokomis Bath House or can be done online at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ex-Gophers WR signed

The Vikings added some local flavor to their wide receiver corps today, signing former University of Minnesota product Paris Hamilton.

Hamilton (6-1, 195) was with the Detroit Lions during the 2006 preseason after spending the 2005 season on their practice squad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hymes released

The Vikings thinned their wide receiver corps by one today with the release of Randy Hymes.

Hymes, who played four seasons for the Baltimore Ravens from 2002-05, signed with the Vikings during the offseason as a free agent.

Monday, June 11, 2007

LB signing

The Vikings added some depth to their linebacker corps with the signing of John Kerr, a rookie free agent from Ohio State.

Kerr (6-1, 233) played three seasons for the Buckeyes after transferring from Indiana, starting at middle linebacker as a senior.

Back to earth

Coming off a 12-catch game, Vikings wide receiver Justin Surrency was held without a reception Saturday in the Amsterdam Admirals' 31-17 NFL Europa loss to Cologne.

Cornerback Jerron Wishom was on the winning side, finishing with a season-high four passes defensed and two tackles.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pat fan

There apparently has been little progress so far on a contract extension for defensive tackle Pat Williams, but he got another ringing endorsement today from coach Brad Childress.

"Pat knows how I feel about him," Childress said. "He's a meat-and-potatoes guy. He's a no-nonsense guy. He always shows up and puts his money where his mouth is. As coaches, you always appreciate that."

Williams, who is heading into the final season of a three-year contract, returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest his knees.

Another one down

The Vikings wrapped up another week of organized team activities today with one final voluntary workout.

Defensive tackle Pat Williams returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest his knees.

Defensive end Kenechi Udeze, who didn't practice all week because of illness, was a spectator and linebacker Dontarrious Thomas and offensive tackle Ryan Cook remained sidelined by apparently minor injuries.

The Vikings have six more OTA days scheduled over the next two weeks, but those workouts are closed to the media.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

R&R day

On the next-to-last day of another round of organized team activities, coach Brad Childress changed up the schedule and gave the majority of his veteran players the day off.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, linebacker Chad Greenway and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe were the only starters among the 48 players who did practice, giving the coaches a chance to take a long look at some of their younger prospects.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said the full squad is scheduled to take part in Friday's final practice, after which all the players and coaches will head to the American Indian Magnet School in St. Paul to help build a playground.

"We're looking forward to that," Bevell said, "to being able to give back to the community and help out and see if they can put up a tire swing that'll hold up Bryant McKinnie."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Vikings set to hire another personnel executive

Vikings vice president Rick Spielman is about to reunite with one of his key colleagues from the Miami Dolphins.

The Vikings are finalizing a deal to hire George Paton to a significant personnel job, according to two league sources. Paton will work under Spielman and help him oversee the Vikings' college and pro scouting departments, much like a director of player personnel for many other teams.

That is a slight -- but significant -- promotion for Paton, who has been the Dolphins’ director of pro personnel since 2001.

A Dolphins spokesman declined comment, and a Vikings spokesman also declined comment.

This isn’t the first time Paton has followed Spielman to a new NFL city.

According to his biography in the Dolphins’ media guide, Paton’s first job was in 1997, with the Chicago Bears. At the time, Spielman was the Bears’ director of pro personnel. In 1998, Paton was promoted from a scouting assistant to pro scout. In 2000, Spielman left to become the Dolphins’ vice president of player personnel. In 2001, Paton was named to his current position with the Dolphins.

Paton was a four-year letterman as a defensive back at UCLA from 1988 to 1991. After graduating with a degree in history, he played professional football in Italy and Austria.

It is not clear how Paton's hire will impact anyone on the current staff. But no one under Spielman had the authority over both the pro and college scouting departments. Scott Studwell, who is the Vikings director of college scouting, is well-thought of in the organization.

Weather or not

Mother Nature forced a change in today's practice schedule for the Vikings, who were forced to move indoors roughly 40 minutes in because of rain and thunder.

Defensive tackle Pat Williams got the day off to rest his knees but said he'd be back Friday for the final day of this round of organized team activities.

Linebacker Dontarrious Thomas was held out because of an undisclosed injury, but defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he hopes to have Thomas back soon.

Defensive end Kenechi Udeze was absent for a second straight day because of illness and offensive tackle Ryan Cook missed practice for undisclosed reasons.

Elsewhere on the injury front, defensive end Erasmus James, who is recovering from two knee surgeries, got in some running under the supervision of head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.

James, the Vikings' No. 1 right end, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Note: In a roster move, the Vikings waived wide receiver Maurice Mann, who appeared in one game for the team last season.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Back to work

After just one day off, the Vikings returned to the practice field today, with the opening of four more days of organized team activities.

As promised, cornerback Antoine Winfield is skipping these voluntary practices and defensive end Kenechi Udeze was sent home because of illness.

Darrion Scott lined up with the first team in Udeze's place at left defensive end and Winfield's absence allowed rookie Marcus McCauley to get some work with the starters at left cornerback.

"I think that's the great upside, probably the silver lining of Antoine not being here," coach Brad Childress said. "You can't put a premium on the turns that (McCauley's) getting out here vs. formations, motions, different route concepts. I think that's a great thing for him. He's done a good job."

Fifty Special Olympics athletes watched today's practice and participated afterward in a punt, pass and kick clinic.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Receiving star

Vikings wide receiver Justin Surrency had a game to remember in NFL Europa over the weekend.

Surrency, a first-year player from Northern Iowa, caught a season-high 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown Sunday for the Amsterdam Admirals in a 41-38 loss to the Rhein Fire.

He also returned one kickoff for 24 yards.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Winfield still not happy

After completing his final practice of the mandatory three-day mini-camp, Vikings CB Antoine Winfield doesn't feel any better than he did before.
Asked if he had come to a resolution, he said, "Oh no. I’m still pretty much at the same spot.
"Like I said, it was good to get back out here, and be around the guys, and get back out there and work on my technique, and seeing different looks, and trying to learn the scheme and all. But I’m still at where I am."
Winfield was careful with his words, but he indicated that his issue was with the team's lack of effort to upgrade the offense. That, apparently, will compel him to continue to work out on his own and skip next week's Organized Team Activities.
"Pretty much, I’m going to do this thing on my own. Work out on my own. I don’t feel like I really need to be around here," he said. "I pretty much know the defense now. I know what I need to work on, when I’m away from here. I don’t think anything is going to change."
After that, Winfield had a telling comment, "They’re not going to bring in Peyton Manning, or anything like that."
Asked if personnel is his issue, Winfield said, "I'm not going to go into that.
"I’ll leave that one alone."
But Winfield also made clear that he believes in Tarvaris Jackson, despite his Manning comment.
"I thought he has the skills to play at this level. He has a great arm. He’s definitely picking up on his offense a lot better. Getting the ball out of his hands fast. Going through his reads," Winfield said of Jackson. "I definitely have a lot of confidence in him.
Although there is significant time before players have to report to training camp on July 25, Winfield said his issues will not get resolved.
"I don’t think it’ll be any change, or anything like that," he said.
"The team is not going to change," he later said. "Nothing is going to change.
As for training camp, Winfield said he will be there.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


What stood out to me about Day 2 of the mini-camp was how terrible Tarvaris Jackson looked. I don't recall him being so indecisive and uncomfortable Friday. On Friday, the biggest problem appeared to be his exchanges with C Matt Birk.

But on Saturday, Jackson seemed to have a lot of poor plays. He held the ball, and held the ball. And if he did throw it, Jackson appeared to force the issue. Once, he threw a pass into traffic, and WR Bobby Wade somehow emerged with the ball. I'm sure that's not how Brad Childress wants his offense run.

Meanwhile, Brooks Bollinger made some nice throws, at least giving his receivers a chance to make plays. Bollinger doesn't throw the ball as crisply as Jackson. But Bollinger shows accuracy, and he certainly -- at least on Saturday -- didn't hold the ball as long as Jackson.

Bollinger's highlight was a connection with Martin Nance in the morning session. The ball was a bit high, but Bollinger put it in a spot that only Nance could make the play.

Special guest

Gopher coach Tim Brewster is in the house, at Winter Park.

Mini-camp update

Not a very eventful morning session. Some dropped balls, missed reads, etc... But here are a few highlights:

* Chester Taylor threw a wobbler to Tarvaris Jackson, on a trick play. Based on that play, I don't think Brooks Bollinger or Tarvaris are too worried about Chester taking their job.
Perhaps Mewelde Moore ought to be the designated running back who throws.

* Bollinger connected with Martin Nance on a very nice play. Bollinger aired the ball out, and Nance reached high to grab it.

* TE Visanthe Shiancoe was wide open, with no one around him. But Bollinger's throw was a bit behind him. Shiancoe, who has dropped a few passes this mini-camp, reached back with his right hand and brought it in. Very, very high degree of difficulty.

* Reason why mini-camp can't be taken too seriously. Troy Williamson snatched a tough ball in traffic. But if this were full contact, Williamson might be out for the season; S Dwight Smith was in a perfect position to hit the receiver so hard it would have undone all the work Nike has done on his eyes.

* S Tank Williams sat out the morning session, along with WR Maurice Mann.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Day One highlights

Thought I'd pass along some highlights from today's mini-camp.

*QB Brooks Bollinger and WR Billy McMullen hooked up on a 40-yard pass play down the left sideline during seven-on-seven drills. McMullen, who struggled in last weeks organized team activities, made a nice catch with CB Dovonte Edwards closely defending him.

WR Jason Carter grabbed a 30-yard pass on the right sideline with CB Antoine Winfield a half-step behind him. Rookie QB Tyler Thigpen made the throw.

* WR Todd Lowber fumbled a ball in the morning, but he blew by S Darren Sharper and CB Ronyell Whitaker in the afternoon. The best play was a 60-yard touchdown during which he showcased his remarkable speed. Whitaker had no chance on that play.

Play of the day: Lined up opposite Antoine Winfield, WR Troy Williamson hauled in a long pass from Tarvaris Jackson for a 50-plus yard gain. Williamson made the play over his shoulder. In other words, Williamson made a very, very difficult catch, on a very, very good cornerback. That's an encouraging sign.

Look of the day: Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor lined up in the backfield together. On one play, Taylor drifted out wide.

Receiver depth

It is a fluid deal so far. But it appears Bobby Wade and Troy Williamson are the starters, with Billy McMullen and Sidney Rice behind them. Cortez Hankton also seems to be getting some prime opportunities, once stepping in for Williamson with the starting offense.
Todd Lowber, not surprisingly, is somewhat erratic, although he had one of the best plays today. He caught a 55-plus yard catch in stride, showcasing his excellent speed, and beating Ronyell Whitaker.
Seventh-round pick Chandler Williams struggled, though, muffing a kickoff and losing a fumble.
Williamson, Wade and McMullen all had some highlights today. Arguably the best was a 50-yarder that Williamson hauled in with CB Antoine Winfield covering him tight. Williamson caught the ball -- thrown by Tarvaris Jackson -- over his shoulder, along the right sideline.
He looked like a No. 7 pick on that play.

Winfield speaks

Vikings CB Antoine Winfield is mum no more, speaking to reporters after his first practice at today's mandatory mini-camp.
Winfield reiterated what his agent Richard Katz told the Pioneer Press Thursday, that his skipping voluntary workouts had nothing to do with his contract.
"Let me clear up one thing," Winfield said. "I’ve been reading on the Internet -- I don’t know which one of you wrote it -- but something about my contract, in some way, this is a quiet protest by me holding out. Disgruntled about my contract. That’s so far from the truth. I haven’t went upstairs and asked for any money, any extensions, so that’s not it. It’s just me not being here, doing this thing on my own, and I’m just getting ready to play ball."
So why wasn't he here?
Well, Winfield didn't spell that out. He did, however, have what he termed a positive 15- to 20-minute conversation with head coach Brad Childress Thursday.
"Both of us said some things, got it off our chests," he said. "But we’re going to keep that between us."
In regards to an ESPN report a while back that he wanted to be traded, Winfield said, "I’m not going to comment on that."
Winfield also said he will definitely be at training camp and be ready for the season opener.
"When training camp starts, I’ll definitely be here," he said. "I don’t plan on holding out, or anything like that. I don’t want to be a distraction to what Mr. (Zygi) Wilf is trying to accomplish around here."
What about next week's Organized Team Activities?
"We’ll see," he said before laughing.
Childress didn't have much to say about Winfield, just saying he was glad to have "all hands on deck."
"He is a professional, and he is a good football player," Childress said. "And as much as we would love to have everybody here, but people have to do what they have to do. and while I don’t care for that, I can’t require him to be here. I know this. He came back. He’s in good condition. His body weight is right where it needs to be. He’s not a guy, laying on the couch, eating Bon Bons."Childress declined to characterize the conversation. Then, when asked if everything is behind them, he said, "That’s really more with Antoine.
"I expect him to be here this afternoon and for the rest of the mandatory part of this. And then it’s his call if he wants to come to the voluntary part of it next week."

Mini camp update

Antoine Winfield is running with the starters, in his rightful place.

Also, WR Cortez Hankton lined up opposite Bobby Wade with the starting offense. On most plays, though, Troy Williamson starts with Wade.

Lastly, Ray Edwards is lining up with the starters at right end.